The Gulf and Atlantic Coasts - and the nation's taxpayers - might be getting a break this hurricane season.
The updated forecast from the team at Colorado State University released yesterday calls for an unexceptional season with hurricane activity near normal, even though the Atlantic Basin remains in an active hurricane era.
In issuing their outlook for the season that began Monday and continues through Nov. 30, William M. Gray and Philip J. Klotzbach said cooler waters in the Atlantic and strong high pressure in the North Atlantic might hold down the numbers this year.
They are calling for 11 named storms, those with winds of 39 m.p.h. or greater, and six hurricanes, packing winds of at least 74 m.p.h. That is a downgrade from outlooks posted in December and April.
Similarly, WSI Corp., a private service based in Massachusetts, last week predicted 11 named storms and five hurricanes.
On average, 11 named storms form annually in the Atlantic Basin, which consists of the Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Government forecasters and AccuWeather Inc., the commercial service based in State College, Pa., also are calling for average numbers of named storms.
The Colorado State forecasters noted that the basin remains in an "active" hurricane period that began in 1995 and could last 10 or 15 more years.
"It is not unusual to have a few below-average years within an active multi-decadal period," they said.