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WSI: Warm Tropical Atlantic Ocean Temperatures Suggest Another Active Hurricane Season


Monitoring Possible Emergence of El Nino, Which Would Limit Activity a Bit

ANDOVER, Mass. — Weather Services International (WSI) expects another active tropical season this year, with 16 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five intense hurricanes expected (16/9/5). This compares to the 1950-2012 normals of 12/7/3 and the more recent “active period” (1995-2012) normals of 15/8/4.

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford:

“One of the side effects of the anomalous weather pattern during March, which was characterized by an unusually amplified jet stream pattern, was a sharp increase in sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic. While it is still two months before tropical season officially begins, this early warming of the tropical waters is usually an indication that an active season is in store, and our statistical forecast models confirm this hypothesis. The one potential fly in the ointment is the possible emergence of an El Nino event this summer, which would create a less favorable environment for tropical development. At this point, climate and statistical model solutions suggest that this outcome is not particularly likely, however.

“Our current forecast is for 16 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five intense hurricanes, and this still may be a bit conservative if the warm tropical ocean temperatures persist heading into the season. Specifying which coastal regions are under threat this year is much more difficult. At least one hurricane landfall has occurred somewhere along the U.S. coast in 80 percent of seasons in the historical data set, and 43 percent of seasons have had multiple hurricane landfalls. Although Irene and Sandy are still fresh in our memory, hurricane landfalls in the Northeast are still rare, occurring only in 25 percent of seasons. However, recent trends in steering currents during the tropical season, potentially driven by historically low Arctic summer sea ice values, do suggest at least a slightly increased threat again this year.”

WSI provides customized weather information to global commodity traders via its industry-leading WSI Trader Web site. WSI will issue its next tropical update on May 23.

About WSI Corporation
WSI (Weather Services International) and Weather Central are the world’s leading providers of weather-driven business solutions for professionals in the energy, aviation, insurance and media markets, as well as multiple federal and state government agencies. Together they comprise the professional division of The Weather Company and are owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms, The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.


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