NOAA’s hurricane predictions for this year say there is a 65% probability of an above normal season.
There’s a 25 percent probability of a ‘near normal season’, leaving just a 10% chance of a quiet year (press release). In full-on statistics mode the agency goes on to state there is “60 to 70 percent chance of 12 to 16 named storms, including 6 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 5 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale)”.
This pretty much accords with predictions from controversial Colorado State University hurricane man William Gray. Gray has been predicting eight hurricanes with four of these being major.
We may be witness something of a change in the world of the storm seers though…
According to the LA Times, this is the first time NOAA has “hedged its bets” by putting out probabilities of difference scenarios rather than a straight prediction. It notes:
The rather cautious forecast follows mounting criticism that such seasonal predictions don’t hold much value. Notably, hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center in Miami-Dade County have warned such outlooks can confuse and frighten people, or, if the numbers are low, make them too complacent.
And the Sarasota Herald Tribune notes that this new way of issuing predictions comes two years after no major hurricanes hit Florida, “and nearly every major forecaster took heat for over-predicting the number of storms”.
The Orlando Sentinel highlights the fact that National Hurricane Center’s new director, Bill Read was not at NOAA’s press conference. Last week he apparently expressed surprise that his recommendation to ditch the forecast ceremony had been ignored.
Image: Hurricane Florence / NASA