Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NC State Forecasters Predict an Active Hurricane Season for 2007

There is an 86% chance a tropical storm or hurricane will strike somewhere along the southeast coast from Florida to North Carolina. That's the forecast for 2007 from the North Carolina State University Tropical Cyclone Prediction Team released to News 14 Carolina Wednesday evening. The forecast team led by Lian Xie and Elinor Keith predicts a 74% probablility of at least one hurricane striking the southeast coast and a 10% chance that a major hurricane (category 3 or stronger) will strike the southeast coast.

The news is even worse for the Gulf coast. The NC State forecast says a landfalling tropical cyclone is "virtually guranteed" along the Gulf coast with a 99.8% probability. The team predicts a 75% chance for a hurricane to strike the Gulf coast and a 56% the a major hurricane will strike the area.

The forecast is better for the northeast coastline defined as the area from Virginia to Maine. Only a 24% chance for a landfalling tropical system is predicted for that region.

Here's a breakdown of the full NC State forecast --

Atlantic Basin (Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean)
  • 12-13 tropical storms
  • 8-9 hurricanes
  • 4-5 major hurricanes

Southeast Coast (Southern tip of Florida to North Carolina)

  • 1-3 landfalling tropical cyclones (86% probability for at least one tropical cyclone to make landfall)
  • 1-2 landfalling hurricanes (74% probability for at least one hurricane to make landfall)

Gulf of Mexico Coast (All U.S. Gulf Coast including west coast of Florida)

  • 5-7 tropical cyclones in the Gulf basin with 4-6 tropical cyclones to make landfall (99.8% probability for at least one tropical cyclone making landfall)
  • 2-3 hurricanes in the Gulf basin with 1-2 hurricanes to make landfall (75% probability for at least one hurricane making landfall)
  • 0-1 major hurricanes in the Gulf basin (56% probability for at least one major hurricane making landfall)

Northeast Coast (Virginia to Maine)

  • most likely no landfalling tropical systems along this stretch of coast with only a 24% probability for a landfalling tropical cyclone and a 5% chance for a landfalling hurricane

The NC State hurricane forecast teams points out that their forecast is only experimental and urges users to use caution using the forecast and that forecast users should take full responsibility for any potential risks from using the forecast. The team also states, "Hurricane prediction is not an exact science and large errors are known in such forecasts."

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