Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top 10 Hurricane Year Possible, AccuWeather Forecaster Says

This year could be a top 10 hurricane year, according to Joe Bastardi,’s chief meteorologist and hurricane forecaster.

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its annual hurricane forecast.

AccuWeather compared Mr. Bastadi’s hurricane prediction to NOAA’s and noted while there are similarities, Mr. Bastadi’s prediction gives a narrower range than NOAA’s.

NOAA forecasts an “active to extremely active” year, while Mr. Bastardi said 2010 could be a “top 10 year” in terms of storm frequency and strength, adding that the Atlantic basin looks “textbook” for a major season.

“2010 will be above average,” said Mr. Bastardi in a statement. “And worst case scenario, it may be in the top 5 to 10 percent as far as impact to land areas in the western hemisphere.”

NOAA predicted a 70 percent chance of 14-23 named storms.

Mr. Bastardi narrowed the range to a projected a total of 16-18 named storms, with 15 reaching the western Atlantic, and at least six storms impacting the United States coastline, with a worst-case scenario of up to 10.

He said he believes more storms will threaten the land areas of North America and adjacent islands.

NOAA predicted there will between 8-12 storms that reach hurricane status, while Mr. Bastardi sees 10-11 storms becoming hurricanes this season.

As for major hurricanes—Category 3 and higher—NOAA forecasts between three and seven.

Mr. Bastardi said he expects five.

The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean will be of special concern this hurricane season, as both the Gulf oil spill area and Haiti will be vulnerable to storm impact, Mr. Bastardi said.

He added that in the heart of the season, there will be a “congregation of tracks,” or a concentrated area where many of the storm tracks will pass through. This area is centered near Puerto Rico to near the Southeast U.S. coastline.

The peak time for hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, is considered to be September

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