2009 Hurricane Forecast Dampened by Cooling Waters
by G. Allen Brooks Parks Paton Hoepfl & Brown Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The team of Professors Philip Klotzbach and William Gray of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU) released their first revision to their initial forecast for the 2009 hurricane season. They now see this year as an average season, down from their prior assessment of it being an active season. The new forecast calls for 12 named storms, down from 14 in their December 10, 2008, initial forecast. These storms will produce six hurricanes and two intense ones, each category lower by one. While the number of named storms is above the 50-year average spanning 1950-2000, the number of hurricanes and intense hurricanes is in line with the historical averages for that period.
While the reduction in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes does not appear overly dramatic, there is a marked reduction in the number of storm days. What is most notable about the new forecast is how much lower it is than the storm record of the past two years. In fact, the latest 2009 forecast would compare more closely with the 2006 storm season than almost any other year in the past six years.