Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted by TSR Consortium

August 9, 2001

The Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) consortium issued renewed above-average projections for the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. The number of tropical storms and hurricanes striking US shores in 2001 are expected to be 20 to 30 percent above the 1991-2000 average. Strikes on the Caribbean Lesser Antilles are anticipated to be 10 to 20 percent above the 10-year average, and Atlantic basin hurricane activity is expected to be 10 percent above the 1991-2000 average.

TSR anticipates four tropical storm strikes on the USA in 2001, of which two will be hurricanes. Two tropical storm hits on the Caribbean Lesser Antilles are foreseen, of which one will be a hurricane. For the Atlantic basin as a whole, TSR expects twelve tropical storms, with seven of these being hurricanes and three intense hurricanes. These projections are downgraded slightly on those issued in early July.

TSR lead scientists Dr. Mark Saunders and Dr. Paul Rockett of the Benfield Group Hazard Research Centre at University College London have developed–in collaboration with the UK Met Office and insurance industry–innovative long-range forecasts for tropical cyclone activity around the world.

“Our projections for 2001 point to 1995-2001 becoming the most active 7-year period for Atlantic hurricanes on record,” Saunders stated. “There can be little doubt the Atlantic has entered a more active hurricane phase.” The total of 56 hurricanes would surpass by one the previous highest seven-year total set in 1949-1955.

The two main climate factors influencing the TSR seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecasts are the expected August and September values for (a) the temperature of sea waters between west Africa and the Caribbean, and (b) the speed of the trade winds which blow westward across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. TSR anticipates warmer than normal waters and weaker than normal trades in 2001; conditions both favoring an active hurricane season.

Hurricanes rank above earthquakes and floods as the USA’s costliest natural disaster.

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