Forecasters release 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season predictions


A number of factors, including higher-than-normal temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean where most tropical storms form, indicate this season we will possibly see an increase in tropical activity.

Although we haven't had any local evacuations since Hurricane Ike, the tropics have been very busy the last few years and that's a trend that could continue into this coming season.

It may not seem like it to us, but the past three years have been active in the tropics, with 19 named storms each year.

/*Superstorm Sandy*/ is the most memorable. I t caused an estimated $75 billion in damages.

Forecasters at AccuWeather's world headquarters say this year will be another active season.

"Our forecast is calling for a total of 16 storms. Out of those 16, eight will be hurricanes. Four of those hurricanes will be major hurricanes," said expert senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski with AccuWeather.

Kottlowski says they don't expect as many named storms as last year.

"The water temperatures off the southeast coast of the United States are cooler than normal," Kottlowski said.

But if water temperatures increase sooner than later, that forecast may change.

"If we get two early season storms, we're going to have to bump the numbers up," Kottlowski said.

Predicting how many storms is a little more challenging this year because something's missing.

"We have no El Nino, or no La Nina. That makes it even more difficult because a lot of years, it's a no-brainer. It's an El Nino, here's where the storms have gone," Kottlowski said.

And how many storms will impact the US?

"There's going to be at least three good, solid impacts where we'll definitely see storm surge, wind -- those kind of things that will really cause some issues," Kottlowski said.

AccuWeather don't just forecast the weather for the next seven days. Some of these meteorologists are working on the forecast for the next month, the next season, the next year.

"We look at years that look very similar to what the winter has been like and also what the current state of the atmosphere is across the entire globe," Kottlowski said.

Kottlowski says by analyzing and comparing those patterns, it allows them to read climatic signals and eventually develop a prediction for potential land impact.

"Several meteorologists here in AccuWeather make up their own analogs, and their years, and not just one person," Kottlowski said.

Although the team of meteorologists are able to predict the number of land impacts, it's nearly impossible to tell the strength of those storms, when they strike, or where.

No matter how many storms are predicted, it only takes one to make an impact.

Thirty years ago, there were only four named storms the whole season. One of them being Hurricane Alicia, which made landfall on Galveston as a Category 3 storm.

As we approach this year's season, it's always important to have a plan in place. Get prepared for hurricane season with these resources:

RESOURCE: Numbers and Sites
SAFETY TIPS: For storms and hurricanes
CHECKLIST: Before the storm
CHECKLIST: As the storm approaches
CHECKLIST: During the storm
SHOPPING: Stock up now FREE APPS: iPad, iPhone, Android or BB
2013 NAMES: Atlantic storms


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