Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated its Atlantic hurricane season outlook. This U.S. Government outlook is made independently of the Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray forecast issued earlier in the week (see my August 6th blog). NOAA now has increased confidence for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
Similar to Klotzbach and Gray, NOAA does NOT make seasonal hurricane landfall predictions.
NOAA now projects an 85 percent probability of an above-normal season. The updated outlook includes a 67 percent chance of 14 to 18 named storms, of which seven to 10 are expected to be hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Those ranges include the five storms that have already formed this season.
An important measure of the seasonal activity is NOAA’s Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which accounts for the number, intensity and duration of named storms and hurricanes (see my August 13th, 2007 blog). The current NOAA outlook indicates a likely (67% chance) ACE range of between 140% and 230% of the median. It should be noted that the August 2007 update called for 140% to 200% of the median for last hurricane season. The observed ACE index for 2007 was 84% of the median which most people would consider a busted forecast.
Whether this updated NOAA forecast for the 2008 hurricane season verifies or not, only time will tell. Typically, the remainder of the season is active after a very active July like we have already experienced (including Category 3 Hurricane Bertha which formed in the deep tropics). But as I have said for years, it only takes one hurricane over your community to make for a bad year. No matter what the seasonal forecasts call for, it is always wise to be prepared.
See http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080807_hurricaneoutlook.html for the entire NOAA update.