Recently the Colorado State University released it's 2007 Hurricane predictions. This year we are expecting an above average Hurricane season, just what everyone on the East coast of the United States wanted to hear. This years predictions look surprisingly familiar to the 2006 predictions, in fact they are exactly the same. Forecasters say that we will have 17 named storms this year, 10 of those storms will become full fledged Hurricanes and of those 10 Hurricanes we will see 5 of them develop into major hurricanes that are category 3 or higher, with wind speeds in excess of 115+ miles per hour.
Last years season was forecasted to be just as active, and according to scientist should have been. After all we were following the extremely active 2004 and 2005 seasons in which we had record breaking storms all over the map, Katrina and Rita hitting the Gulf coast, and even had to use the Greek alphabet for names, getting all the way down to tropical storm Gamma. So why was it that the 2006 season was so slow? We only had a total of 10 named storms, and only 2 major hurricanes, and none of which even made it close to the US coast line.
The reason according to many meteorologists is because we were in an Elnino year, and upper level wind shifts inhibited the development of any tropical cyclones. The wind sheer in the Caribbean was terrible in 2006, at least for storm development and destroyed any system that even came close to the area. This year however, the Elnino is backing off and upper level winds seem to be falling into a more favorable pattern for tropical development, although still not optimum. Aside form the scientific reasons for a slow 2006 season we all have to remember that the weather is very unpredictable, and trying to predict storm development is like trying to scry the future, although a bit more accurate.
One of the new forecasts is a bit scary for anyone living on the Eastern seaboard. According to the Colorado State University predictions there is a 50% chance of a major hurricane hitting this area of the United States, that includes any of the states from Florida and as far north as New York or even further. This prediction is way above average, most of the time in an average season the likelihood of a major hurricane striking the US is around 30% or less. With these new numbers out and available to the public people are already getting geared up for what could be a very busy season.
All we can do is sit and wait to see what kind of curve balls Mother Nature will throw us this season. All we can do is hope and pray that it will not mimic the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina, and being prepared is the first step to take. Being informed about a storms path and location is the most helpful thing you can do when your area is threatened and then take other necessary steps to protect your and your family. Hurricane season official starts on June 1st of this year.