Researchers predict active Atlantic hurricane season

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Meteorologists with Colorado State University are predicting 18 named storms during the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, with nine expected to become hurricanes and four of those major hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed over the past several months and it appears that the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are unlikely,” Phil Klotzbach, who authors the forecast with William Gray of the university’s Tropical Meteorology Project, said in a statement. “Typically, El Niño is associated with stronger vertical shear across the tropical Atlantic, creating conditions less conducive for storm formation.”

Five hurricane seasons since 1900 exhibited oceanic and atmospheric characteristics most similar to those observed in February and March of this year: 1915, 1952, 1966, 1996 and 2004. Four of the five years had above-average hurricane activity.

The Colorado State team predicts that tropical cyclone activity in 2013 will be about 175 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2012 saw activity that was 131 percent of the average season.

The hurricane season falls between June 1 and Nov. 30.

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