Subject:
NOAA Issues Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, Encourages Preparedness
From:
NOAA News Releases <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 21 May 2009 11:04:20 -0400
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Contact:          Chris Vaccaro                                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

            202-536-8911 (cell)                                         May 21, 2009

            David Miller

                        202-329-4030 (cell)

 

NOAA Issues Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, Encourages Preparedness

 

NOAA forecasters say a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. However, as with any season, the need to prepare for the possibility of a storm striking near you is essential.

 

“Today, more than 35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Timely and accurate warnings of severe weather help save lives and property. Public awareness and public preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane.”

 

In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center calls for a 50 percent probability of a near-normal season, a 25 percent probability of an above-normal season and a 25 percent probability of a below-normal season. Global weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the 2009 hurricane season outlook than in recent years. Forecasters say there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).

 

            “This outlook is a guide to the overall expected seasonal activity. However, the outlook is not just about the numbers, it’s also about taking action,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Prepare for each and every season regardless of the seasonal outlook. Even a near- or below-normal season can produce landfalling hurricanes, and it only takes one landfalling storm to make it a bad season.”

 

            Shaping this seasonal outlook is the possibility of competing climate factors. Supporting more activity this season are conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era that began in 1995, which include enhanced rainfall over West Africa, warmer Atlantic waters and reduced wind shear. But activity could be reduced if El Nino develops in the equatorial Eastern Pacific this summer or if ocean temperatures in the eastern tropical Atlantic remain cooler than normal.

 

            NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook does not project where and when any of these storms may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches. For each storm, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center forecasts how these weather patterns affect the storm track, intensity and landfall potential.

 

“NOAA strives to produce the best possible forecasts to help emergency officials and residents better prepare for an approaching storm,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “I’m pleased to have the Administration’s support for an additional $13 million in next year’s budget request to continue the trend of improving hurricane track and intensity forecasts.”

           

            Tropical systems acquire a name – the first for 2009 will be Ana – upon reaching tropical storm strength with sustained winds of at least 39 mph. Tropical storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph, and become major hurricanes when winds increase to 111 mph. An average season has 11 named storms, including six hurricanes with two becoming major hurricanes.

 

NOAA scientists will continue to monitor evolving conditions in the tropics and will issue an updated hurricane outlook in early August, just prior to what is historically the peak period for hurricane activity.

 

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

 

On the Web:

NOAA Hurricane Preparedness: http://www.hurricanes.gov/prepare

 

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Subject:
NOAA Predicts Normal or Below Normal Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season
From:
NOAA News Releases <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 21 May 2009 11:13:24 -0400
To:
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Contact:          Chris Vaccaro                                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

            202-536-8911 (cell)                                         May 21, 2009

            David Miller

                        202-329-4030 (cell)

 

NOAA Predicts Normal or Below Normal Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season

 

            NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center today announced that projected climate conditions point to a normal or below normal hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific this year. The outlook calls for a 40 percent probability of a below normal season, a 40 percent probability of a near normal season and a 20 percent probably of an above normal season.

 

Allowing for forecast uncertainties, seasonal hurricane forecasters estimate a 70 percent chance of 13 to 18 named storms, which includes six to 10 hurricanes, of which two to five will become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale).

 

An average eastern Pacific hurricane season produces 15 to 16 named storms, with nine becoming hurricanes and four to five becoming major hurricanes. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through Nov. 30, with peak activity from July through September.

 

The main climate factors influencing this year’s Eastern Pacific outlook are the atmospheric conditions that have decreased hurricane activity over the eastern Pacific Ocean since 1995 – and the possible development of El Niño.

 

“We expect either neutral or El Niño conditions this season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. “During this low-activity era, neutral conditions increase the chance of a below-normal season, while El Niño increases the chance of a near normal season. If significant El Niño impacts develop, as a few models suggest, we could even see an above-normal hurricane season for the eastern Pacific region.”

 

The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity. It does not predict whether, where or when any of these storms may hit land.

 

            Eastern Pacific tropical storms most often track westward over open waters, sometimes reaching Hawaii and beyond. However, some occasionally head toward the northeast and may bring rainfall to the arid southwestern United States during the summer months. Also, during any given season, one or two tropical storms can affect western Mexico or Central America. Residents, businesses and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions should always prepare prior to each and every hurricane season regardless of the seasonal hurricane outlook.

 

            NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.

 

On the Web:

NOAA Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Epac_hurr/Epac_hurricane.html

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center: http://www.hurricanes.gov/

 

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