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New Hurricane Forecast Calls For Slightly Lower Threat

UPDATED August 8, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal

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The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a bit of a slow start but is still expected to pick up steam, according to the latest forecast released by a team of experts at Colorado State University and the National Hurricane Center.

A Colorado State forecasting team, consisting of Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, has been releasing its seasonal prediction for tropical activity multiple times a year since 1984, and has updated its forecast as this season passes the one-third mark. The forecasting team`s outlook calls for the 2013 season to be quite busy, with all major forecasting indicies pointing toward well-above average activity. That said, these numbers have been reduced somewhat since the start of the season.

Specifically, the forecast still calls for a total of 18 named storms, but the number of hurricanes has been revised downward from 9 to 8 hurricanes. Likewise, the number of "major hurricanes" with winds exceeding 110 mph has dropped from 4 to 3.

In keeping with this projection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is also calling for a busy tropical season in the Atlantic Basin. That forecast predicts 13 to 19 named storms, including 6 to 9 hurricanes, of which 3 to 5 could be "major". This is similar to its pre-season outlook, but with a reduced expectation of extreme levels of activity.

Both of these forecasts are in line with Earth Networks` 2013 hurricane forecast. Prior to the start of the season in June, the Earth Networks Meteorology team predicted 14 to 18 named storms. Of those, 7 to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes were anticipated.

The Colorado State team pointed to climatological conditions for the drop in their forecast. A slight El Nino pattern is in place, causing water temperatures to cool in the tropical Atlantic. This has led to unfavorable conditions for storm development and long-term sustainability. In fact, these unfavorable conditions have already caused two tropical storms, Chantal and Dorian, to meet an early demise.

This is slightly behind last year`s pace, which saw Hurricane Ernesto, the second such storm of the season, form on August 1, and slightly below the long-term average of five named storms and one hurricane by this point in the season.

Although the hurricane season is more than two months old, we are now heading into the climatologically busiest part of the season. The peak in activity is typically the last week of August and the first two weeks of September, with a slow decline thereafter through the season`s end on November 30. This is why the forecast calls for such a large proportion of storms to still remain on the table.

The next update to this year`s forecast will be made in two months, after the season passes its peak. Even then, there is still the potential for significant storms even in October and November. Hurricane Sandy formed on October 22, and impacted the U.S. on October 29.

Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive information on the tropics and to get the latest weather in your neighborhood. Get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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