2011 Atlantic hurricane season forecasts
Updated: July 26, 2011 5:00 PM EDT
Outperforming other, primary, public forecasters on named storms by 25%
since 2006, Weather Services International, a Weather Channel company,
predicts 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes (category
3 or greater).
These 2011 forecast numbers are above the long-term (1950-2010)
averages of 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes and
match the averages from the more active recent period (1995-2010) of 15
named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. The current forecast
numbers are not changed from the April, May, or June forecasts.
“Most of the important drivers for tropical activity continue to
indicate that an active season lies ahead of us,” said WSI Chief
Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford.
Crawford lists these drivers as "warmer-than-normal North Atlantic
water temperatures, very low surface pressures in the main development
region, and no impending El Nino event."
Although WSI does not see activity reaching the historic levels of 2005
and 2010, it does expect a more impactful season in 2011 along the
United States coastline.
2010 Hurricane Season: Full
The country has been largely spared the last two years, with no
hurricane landfalls since 2008, a rare occurrence.
to WSI, the United States has not gone through a three-year
without a hurricane landfall since the 1860s!
of all years in the historical dataset have had at least one hurricane
landfall in the U.S.
Watch video: U.S.
hurricane landfalls...it's been awhile
"Our recent good fortune in avoiding landfalling hurricanes is not
likely to last," said Crawford.
“The lack of U.S. landfalls in 2010 was primarily due to a persistent
western Atlantic trough that essentially protected the U.S. East Coast
from any direct hits. We do not expect this feature to be in place this
year during late summer and fall when most tropical storms occur," said
WSI's hurricane landfall prediction model indicates increased chances
of a landfall this year, particularly along the western Gulf Coast.
"This is not particularly unusual, since historically 43% of
had multiple hurricane landfalls.
The forecast numbers from
are quite similar to those prior to the 2008 season, when Hurricanes
Dolly, Gustav, and Ike impacted Louisiana and Texas."
and Colorado State Hurricane Forecasts
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their
forecast for the 2011 huricane season on May 19, 2011. Forecasters are
expecting another active season with between 12 and 18 named storms, 6
to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 6 major hurricanes.
“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the
season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,”
said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and
atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “However we can’t count on luck to
get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with
this above-normal outlook.”
NOAA cited several climate factors considered for this outlook:
-The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical
multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions
conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic
-Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often
develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit
-La Nina officially dissipated, but its impacts such
as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane
“In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also
indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could
see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995,” said
Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate
In their June update, Colorado State University (CSU)
also kept its 2011 hurricane season forecast steady, calling for 16
named storms, 9 hurricanes and 5
Phil Klotzbach of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project cited that
above-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic will
contribute to an active season.
The total amount of storm, hurricane and major hurricane activity in
2011 is forecast to be 175 percent of average. Last year was 196
percent above average.
As always, these hurricane forecasts can give an indication of how
active a season might be, but do not predict the exact details
of where or if any landfalls occur.
Stu Ostro blog: Are seasonal
strike frequency (1900-2010)
Our message at The Weather Channel is for you to be prepared each
season, regardless of whether the forecast is for an active or inactive
Weather Ready: Hurricane
A classic example of this occurred in 1992. The season only produced
six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named
storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a
Category 5 hurricane.