The 2013 Hurricane season is upon us starting in June and now is the time to start preparing for this inconvenient aspect of living in the tropics. Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. While these are the “official” start and end dates, be aware that storms can and do come in out of season. Various sites and bodies are making their predictions at this time, and while the batting average of predictions is getting better, they are still not that accurate but do make for good reading and education.
First, let us look at the official names reserved for the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season as published by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, Wendy.
Beginning in 1953, Atlantic hurricanes had been named from lists prepared by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. There are six standard lists of names and these are rotated every six years. For example the list above for 2013 will be used again in 2019. The only exception is that if a hurricane is so deadly and devastating that its future use would undesirable due to public sensitivity, the WMO can retire that storms name from the standard list.
The more referred to prediction by the media is the one put out by the Department of Atmospheric Science Colorado State University Colorado State University in the U.S. This year they are predicting a more than usual hurricane activity.
2013 Hurricane Predictions
This year the CSU team of Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray say In their prediction released on 10 April that:
“We anticipate that the 2013 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have enhanced activity compared with the 1981-2010 climatology. 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. We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean. Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much or how little activity is predicted.
“ABSTRACT Information obtained through March 2013 indicates that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season will have more activity than the median 1981-2010 season. We estimate that 2013 will have about 9 hurricanes (median is 6.5), 18 named storms (median is 12.0), 95 named storm days (median is 60.1), 40 hurricane days (median is 21.3), 4 major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (median is 2.0) and 9 major hurricane days (median is 3.9). The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 140 percent of the long-period aerage. We expect Atlantic basin Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity in 2013 to be approximately 175 percent of the long-term average This forecast is based on a new extended-range early April statistical prediction scheme that was developed utilizing 29 years of past data. Analog predictors are also utilized.
“We anticipate an above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season due to the combination of an anomalously warm tropical Atlantic and a relatively low likelihood of El Niño. Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
Comment From Belize Weather Bureau Meteorologist Ronald Gordon
The following is from a broadcast radio interview on 12 April:
“Doctor William Gray and Colleagues from Colorado State University have issued their predictions for the 2013 Hurricane Seasons and in it, they are predicted above average hurricane season. They are predicting eighteen named storms – nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes. The sea surface temperatures for the Atlantic Ocean have been seen to be warmer than normal and that is one factor that Doctor William Gray has considered in his forecast for this season.
“For this season, we are not expecting an El Nino event and that is one factor which will contribute to a possible enhanced season. The previous year, 2012, they were forecasting an El Nino event to materialize which never happened and that is the reason why most forecasts for that season were below than actually what happened. For this season, the likelihood of El Nino is even less so for that reason, we are expecting a little more active season than normal. I don’t have an exact figure in terms of probability, but as with most probability studies, there is the chance that it could be wrong. But there is a chance that if it is above season predictions, it should be above; the exact amount might not materialize.”