The Hurricane Forecast Team at Colorado State University released their predictions for the coming season this week. The group expects 18 named storms, including four major hurricanes.
This prediction, if accurate, would make 2013 an exceptionally active year for tropical storm activity. A typical year sees two major hurricanes, six other hurricanes, and 12 named tropical storms.
A named storm features sustained winds of at least 39 mph, while a hurricane has sustained winds of at least 74 mph. A major hurricane is any hurricane that reaches category 3 or greater, which requires sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
Forecasters also say there is a 72% chance that one of those major hurricanes will make landfall in the U.S. There hasn’t been a major hurricane on U.S. soil since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While there have been major hurricanes since then, all have stayed out at sea, wreaking their havoc from afar.
The most recent major hurricane was hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast in October. Sandy was a category 3 when it hit Cuba, but had dissipated to a category 1 by the time it reached the U.S.
The Colorado State forecast and the National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are probably the two most closely watched annual hurricane forecasts in the country.
Last year, the Colorado State team’s forecast was off. They predicted 10 named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Instead, the Atlantic saw nearly twice that number, with 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
NOAA will probably release its predicitions for the season in late May.
We’ll also be releasing our predictions for hurricane season in late May, though our forecaster, Caleb Weatherbee, actually completed his forecast more than two years ago.
Can’t wait to see what he said? You can find out what we’re predicting for hurricane season right now by picking up a copy of the 2013 Farmers’ Almanac.