AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Paul Pastelok, are predicting an active season for 2011 with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year.
The team is forecasting a total of 15 named tropical storms, eight of which will attain hurricane status and three of which will attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher).
In a normal year, there are 10 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes and two of which become major hurricanes, or attain winds that exceed 110 mph.
2010's historic season had a total of 19 named storms and ranks as the third most active season on record, but there was little impact on the United States coastline. Twelve of these storms became hurricanes, five of which were major hurricanes. Two names from the 2010 season were retired on March 16.
"It looks like we're going to have more impact on the mainland of the U.S. coming up this year compared to last year," Pastelok said. "We had a lot of storms last year, but not a lot of impact [on the U.S.]."
In order to project the number of storms and impacts, the team looks at past years that have similar weather variables and patterns that closely resemble the most recent fall, winter and early spring months.
This Season's Concern Areas
As with most Atlantic hurricane seasons, the areas where storms are most likely to make landfall shift as the season progresses.
This year, the early season threat area will be the western Gulf of Mexico and the southern portion of the Caribbean. Within this zone, the higher concern for landfalls will be along the Texas and Louisiana coastlines.
As for the mid-to-late season zones, the eastern Gulf and Caribbean will be the focus. The higher concern areas will be the Florida Peninsula to the Carolinas.
"What we see is there is a clustering of storm impacts over the southeastern US, and that's the reason why we earmarked this as a concern area," said Kottlowski.
Another mid-to-late season concern for landfalls will be northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes.
"We feel that this season, there will be a higher potential for impacts across the southern part of the Basin into the Gulf of Mexico during the first part of the season," Pastelok stated. "This higher potential for impacts shift farther north into the southeast U.S. during the latter half of the season."
Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
For all the latest tropical information, be sure to check the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center for the most up-to-date videos, information and storm tracks.
Article Source: Accuweather.com
By Gina Cherundolo, AccuWeather.com