St. Kitts – Nevis Hopes For A Moderate Hurricane Season For 2012

Hurricane Damage To Four Seasons Resort
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Hurricane Omar Damage To Four Seasons Resort

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 31, 2012 (CUOPM)

With two tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl, on the books, the 2012 Hurricane Seaspon, which srtats on June 1, is still predicted to be moderate.

Nine to 15 named storms are expected during the six-month season from June 1 to Nov. 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Several other storm experts have predicted 10 to 12 storms.

The predictions are based in part on cooler surface waters in the Atlantic basin “” the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico “” and the possibility of a late summer El Niño, which creates upper atmospheric storms that thwart hurricane development.

Forecasters already have said the early season storms are not an indication of things to come.

The names Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William.

2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook: Summary

NOAA’s 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that a near-normal season is most likely. The outlook calls for a 50% chance of a near-normal season, a 25% chance of an above normal season, and a 25% chance of a below-normal season. See NOAA definitions of above-, near-, and below-normal seasons. The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.

This outlook reflects the possibility of competing climate factors, combined with several circulation and sea surface temperature (SST) features that suggest a less active season compared to many in recent years. Favoring an above-normal season is the ongoing conditions that have been associated with increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995, combined with expected near-average SSTs across much of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea (called the Main Development Region, or MDR).

A potentially competing climate factor is the possible development of El Niño during the season. If El Niño develops, it could make conditions less conducive for hurricane formation and intensification during the peak months (August-October) of the season, thus shifting the activity toward the lower end of the predicted range.

If they persist, two other factors that are now present could also compete with conditions associated with the high-activity era. These are: 1) Enhanced vertical wind shear across the MDR, and 2) Cooler-than-average SSTs in the far eastern tropical Atlantic.

Given the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts and possible competing factors, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during 2012:

9-15 Named Storms,
4-8 Hurricanes
1-3 Major Hurricanes
An Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 65%-140% of the median.

The seasonal activity is expected to fall within these ranges in 70% of seasons with similar climate conditions and uncertainties to those expected this year. These ranges do not represent the total possible ranges of activity seen in past similar years.

Note that the above ranges are centered near the official NHC 1981-2010 seasonal averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

This Atlantic hurricane season outlook will be updated in early August, which coincides with the onset of the peak months of the hurricane season.

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