Long-range forecasts show average season

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 13, 2015

Most long-range hurricane forecasts for the 2015 Atlantic season show an average to slightly below average season; however, there is some disagreement among forecasters this early.

And while hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, locals are still encouraged to be severe weather ready.

Susan Harris, Covington County EMA director said that next week has been declared Severe Weather Awareness wee   k.

“Advance planning and increased awareness will help residents of Alabama prepare for these deadly storms,” she said.

Forecasters at Colorado State University predict that the Atlantic remains in an active era for tropical cyclones – one it has been in since 1995, with the exceptions of 2013-2014.

Additionally, they expect “typical conditions associated with a positive Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation and strong thermohaline circulation (THC) to return this season.

CSU’s team Klotzbach and Gray predict that the THC/AMO strength will determine the activity.

At this point, there are four possible scenarios, according to CSU:

• If THC circulation becomes strong and no El Nino event, some 14-17 named storms, nine to 11 hurricane, four to five major hurricanes are predicted;

• If THC continues in the above-average condition that is has been in since 1995 and no El Nino develops, 12-15 named storms; seven to nine hurricanes; three to four major hurricanes are predicted;

• If THC continues in above average condition and there is a significant development of El Nino, eight to 11 named storms, with three to five hurricanes and one to two major hurricanes are predicted;

• If the THC becomes weaker and there is El Nino development, five to seven named storms, two to three hurricanes and zero to one major hurricane are predicted.

Forecasters say that the greatest probability lies in the eight to 15 named storms with three to nine hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes.

British-based Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) earlier predicted a below-average season.

It has noted that it has a low-level of precision in long-range predictions; however it suggested that there would be 13 tropical storms; six hurricanes and two intense hurricane.

The average is 11 tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, while the 10-year average is 15 tropical storms, seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes.