22 May 2006 17:44 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--This year’s hurricane season will produce fewer storms than the record-number endured in 2005, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted on Monday.
NOAA said two to four hurricanes may strike the US coastline. It said conditions are ripe for 13-16 named storms originating in the Atlantic basin, with 8-10 becoming hurricanes. Four to six of those storms would reach Category 3 (winds of 11-130 mph) or higher, the weather administration said in a press conference.
“Although we don’t anticipate reaching or exceeding the extraordinary tally of storms experienced last year, this forecast exceeds the average number of storms,” said Conrad Lautenbacher, an NOAA administrator.
The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest on record with 28 named storms, 15 of them hurricanes. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita extensively damaged the US Gulf Coast petroleum and natural gas infrastructure and disrupted production at chemical plants in ?xml:namespace>
The 40-year average number of storms for any given year is 11, the NOAA said. In a typical year, six become hurricanes while two reach major status of Category 3.
“The silver lining in the forecast this year is the weakening of La Nina in the equatorial Pacific,” said Lautenbacher, who added that the La Nina weather pattern will not be an issue this hurricane season.
Other conditions, however, such as warmer sea surface conditions and wind patterns that cause lower wind shear are “supportive of hurricane development, sustainability and intensification,” Lautenbacher said.
In early April, the Tropical Meteorology Project centre at
The hurricane season begins 1 June and continues through 30 November.
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