As the season’s first tropical storm now brews in the Pacific and is about to cross-over into the southern Gulf of Mexico toward Cuba, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted there will be 12 to 15 tropical storms this season, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes. NOAA predicts hurricane activity will be 70 percent above normal.
According to National Hurricane spokesman Frank Lepore, early projections show the atmosphere is now more conducive for hurricanes.
“A hurricane is a collection of vertical thunderstorms,” Lepore said. “The reduced vertical wind sheer in the deep tropics makes the Atlantic more conducive for hurricanes. The Gulf (of Mexico) is equally conducive.”
Dr. William Gray, a leading meteorologist with Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicted to attendees at the recent Governor’s Hurricane Preparedness Conference in Tampa a 73 percent likelihood for a hurricane to hit the Florida’s Gulf coast.
In comparison, Florida’s eastern coast has a higher probability of hurricane landfalls with an 82 percent probability. Gray also summarizes the possibility for the more dangerous storms in the Gulf and in Florida’s eastern coast. In the report, he said there’s a greater chance for more dangerous hurricanes to occur on the east coast rather than in the Gulf.
Gray believes that the Category 3 to 5 storms will most likely occur on the east coast.
“It doesn’t matter how many hurricanes are projected,” Lepore said. “I would say that it doesn’t matter what the numbers are. We could have many (hurricanes) that won’t create much damage or we could have one that could ruin your year. The objective is to be prepared.”