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2005 Hurricane Season Outlook

Another Above Normal Season Expected

May 16, 2005 — NOAA hurricane forecasters are predicting another above-normal hurricane season on the heels of last year's destructive and historic hurricane season. "NOAA's prediction for the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season is for 12 to15 tropical storms, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator at a news conference today in Bay St. Louis, Miss. "Forecaster confidence that this will be an active hurricane season is very high."

NOAA's Atlantic hurricane outlook reflects an expected continuation of above-average activity that began in 1995. Since that time all but two Atlantic hurricane seasons have been above-normal. Hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends November 30.

"Impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and their remnants do not stop at the coast," states retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. "As we kick off National Hurricane Preparedness Week and look at another highly active season, preparation plans should consider that these storms carry severe weather, such as tornadoes and flooding, while moving inland."

Although it's too soon to predict where and when a storm may hit land, NOAA still cautions the public to be prepared.

"Last year's hurricane season provided a reminder that planning and preparation for a hurricane do make a difference. Residents in hurricane vulnerable areas who had a plan, and took individual responsibility for acting on those plans, faired far better than those who did not," said Max Mayfield, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center

An update to the Atlantic hurricane outlook will be issued in early August just prior to the season's historical peak from late August through October.

In contrast to the Atlantic, a below-normal hurricane season is expected in the Eastern and Central Pacific. NOAA's outlook for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, also released today, calls for 11-15 tropical storms, with six to eight becoming hurricanes of which two to four may become major hurricanes. Two or three tropical cyclones are projected for the Central Pacific.

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane outlook is a joint product of scientists at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, Hurricane Research Division and National Hurricane Center. NOAA meteorologists use a suite of sophisticated numerical models and high-tech tools to forecast tropical storms and hurricanes. Scientists rely on information gathered by NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve personnel who fly directly into the storms in hurricane hunter aircraft; NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense satellites; NOAA data buoys, weather radars and partners among the international meteorological services.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.


Below Normal Seasonal Activity Expected in 2005

May 16, 2005 - NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, today released its 2005 East Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook. The outlook calls for a high likelihood of below normal activity. NOAA scientists are expecting 11-15 tropical storms. Six to eight of these are expected to become hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes.

“There tends to be a seesaw affect between the East Pacific and North Atlantic hurricane seasons,” said Jim Laver, director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Md. “When there is above normal seasonal activity in the Atlantic there tends to be below normal seasonal activity in the Pacific. This has been especially true since 1995. Six of the last ten East Pacific hurricane seasons have been below normal, and NOAA scientists are expecting lower levels of activity again this season.”

The seesaw effect between the East Pacific and North Atlantic hurricane seasons occurs because the two dominant climate factors that control much of the activity in both regions often act to suppress activity in one region while enhancing it in the other.

Like the Atlantic hurricane season, the El Niño/La Niña cycle is a dominant climate factor influencing the East Pacific hurricane season. “However, this hurricane season we are most likely to be in a neutral pattern in regards to El Niño/La Niña,” said Vernon Kousky, NOAA’s El Niño/La Niña expert.

While the thought of a hurricane is a sobering image to many people, there are some positive aspects in regards to the East Pacific hurricane season. In contrast to its sibling - the North Atlantic hurricane season, which can cause deadly storms in the southern and eastern United States - “the East Pacific hurricane season can bring much needed precipitation to the usually dry southwestern United States during the summer months,” said Muthuvel Chelliah, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s lead coordinator for the East and Central Pacific Hurricane Season Outlooks.

“Most East Pacific tropical storms trek westward over open waters, sometimes reaching Hawaii and beyond. Yet, during any given season, one or two tropical storms can either head northward or re-curve toward western Mexico, ” said Chelliah.

After two years of successful experimental outlooks issued by NOAA in 2003 and 2004, the East Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook becomes an operational product this year. Unlike the North Atlantic, the East Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook does not have a scheduled mid-season update at this time.

The East Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November 30, with peak activity occurring during July through September. In a normal season, the East Pacific would expect 15 or 16 tropical storms. Nine of these would become hurricanes, of which four or five would be major hurricanes.

The East Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook is a product of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Hurricane Research Division and National Hurricane Center. The National Hurricane Center has forecasting responsibilities for the East Pacific region.


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