Photo of Lower Manhattan © Iwan Baan
The Gulf Coast and Atlantic states should brace themselves, as forecasters predict that 2013’s hurricane season may be above average. Experts at Colorado State University predict eighteen tropical storms for this season, and half are projected to be intense enough to morph into hurricanes. This forecast is six tropical storms above the average twelve per season.
Of those nine tropical storms that forecasters predict will reach hurricane status, four are expected to have winds of at least 111 miles per hour, which could cause serious damage if they touch down on shore. The national average brings in six hurricanes with two being major hurricanes.
Researchers believe the sudden increase in tropical storms is due to increasing climate change and temperatures. Hurricanes and tropical storms are amplified by warm waters. The Atlantic Ocean has reached warmer temperatures than normal in recent months, which will encourage the formation of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Normally, the average chance of a hurricane hitting the coastal Atlantic is around 52%, but this year, with the higher temperatures, forecasters estimate a 72% chance of a major hurricane affecting the coast.
Although theses estimates are only predictions at this point, last year’s 19 tropical storms and ten hurricanes should serve as a gauge, and encourage coastal communities along the East Coast and Gulf Coast to prepare the best they can, and hopefully prevent the damage and destruction that was suffered in 2012 with Hurricane Sandy and other storms.