Hurricane Forecast Issued for Atlantic Basin
May 26, 2011 • 8:55AM

While the nation and world have been hit with increased earthquake and volcanic activity, severe droughts, record tornado swarms, and record flooding, the upcoming hurricane season in the Atlantic basin also threatens to be severe over the next six months, beginning June 1.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) Administrator, reported that this season "will likely include 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). And of those, we are expecting 6 to 10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). Of those, 3 to 6 could become major hurricanes, rated categories 3, 4 or 5 (winds of 111 mph or higher)."

In its 28th year of issuing predictions, the Colorado State University forecast team also predicted an above-average 2011 Atlantic basin hurricane season. The CSU team now calls for 16 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and Nov. 30. Nine of those are expected to turn into hurricanes with five developing into major hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

The CSU team predicts that tropical cyclone activity in 2011 will be approximately 175 percent of the average season. The hurricane forecast team's probabilities for a major hurricane making landfall on U.S. soil:

- A 72-percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2011 (the long-term average probability is 52 percent).

- A 48-percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula (the long-term average is 31 percent).

- A 47-percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville (the long-term average is 30 percent).

The team also predicts a 61-percent chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean (the long-term average is 42 percent).