Researchers predict less-active hurricane season

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Meteorologists with Colorado State University predict that the 2012 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have reduced activity, compared with the average season between 1981 and 2010.

“The combination of a warming tropical Pacific and a cooling tropical Atlantic are leading us to think that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity than the average 1981-2010 season,” Philip Klotzbach and William Gray wrote in a report.

“However, we stress the need to realize that there is inherent uncertainty in seasonal [tropical cyclone] prediction. In addition, hurricanes can make landfall in inactive seasons and do major damage (e.g., Alicia in 1983 and Andrew in 1992).”

A full discussion of the outlook for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will be available with the first quantitative forecast issued on April 4. This forecast will include predictions for numbers of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes.

Last year, 19 tropical storms were tracked between June 1 and Nov. 30. Seven became hurricanes and four reached “major” status. In a typical year 11 storms are named, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes.

The strongest hurricane was Ophelia, which maxed out at 140-mph sustained winds.

However, on Aug, 27 Hurricane Irene became the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. mainland since Ike in 2008. The slow-moving, rain-intensive storm was responsible for widespread flooding, 56 fatalities and more than $10 billion in damage.

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