“We have been in an active era for Atlantic basic tropical storms since 1995, and we expect those conditions to continue,” says lead forecaster Phil Klotzbach.
The severity of the season, it says, depends almost entirely on El Niño.
“One of the big challenges for 2013 is whether El Niño will develop,” Klotzbach says.
Noting that El Niño failed to fully develop this year, Klotzbach says there is the possibility that it will develop next year.
The team has predicted four scenarios for the 2013 Atlantic basin hurricane season, based on the uncertainty of El Niño combined with atmospheric conditions that are favorable to hurricane development.
• Conditions are strong for development, but El Niño fails to develop — 20 percent.
• Conditions for development are above average, but no El Niño develops — 40 percent.
• Conditions for development remain above average, and El Niño develops — 35 percent.
• Conditions for development are weaker combined with significant El Niño development — 5 percent.
For its December forecast, the CSU team relies of probabilities of key factors influencing the season rather than predicting the number of storms expected to develop.
The CSU team on April 10 will issue its first forecast with predictions for the number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes.
Storm names for the 2013 season are: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastian, Tanya, Van and Wendy.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.