CSU forecast team: 16 named hurricanes this season

The Colorado State University hurricane forecast team today
maintained its earlier seasonal hurricane forecasts, calling for 16 named storms in the Atlantic basin for the 2011 season.

The combination of neutral El Nino — Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions in the tropical Pacific along with continued warm sea surface temperature anomalies and unusually low sea-level pressure anomalies in the tropical Atlantic will likely lead to a very active hurricane season, Colorado State scientists said.

William Gray, in his 28th year of forecasting at Colorado State, estimates the 2011 season will have roughly as much activity as was experienced in four similar years: 1952, 1966, 2005 and 2008.

The team also updated its U.S. landfall probabilities, which are calculated based on historical landfall statistics and then adjusted by the latest seasonal forecast.

For the remainder of the season, the team also recalculated probabilities for a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coast:

• A 70 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline (full-season average for the last century is 52 percent)

• A 46 percent chance for the East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula (full-season average for the last century is 31 percent).

• A 45 percent chance for the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville (full-season average for the last century is 30 percent).

The probability for at least one major hurricane making landfall in the Caribbean is 59 percent (full-season average for the last century is 42 percent).

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