The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on tropical storms Ernesto and Florence. The storms are not expected to affect local weather forecasts.
Experts with Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project released projections for the remainder of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season Aug. 3, saying between now and Nov. 30, activity most likely will be slightly less than average.
Dr. Phil Klotzbach, research scientist, and William Gray, Professor emeritus of atmospheric science said in the updated report that the remainder of 2012 “will have about” 10 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, Category 3, 4 or 5.
The latest predictions show little change to the forecast released June 1 that called for 12 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will update its seasonal outlook on Aug. 9. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said May 24 that there was a 70 percent chance that nine to 15 named storms would form in 2012, with four to eight hurricanes and one to three major hurricanes.
Thus far this season, as of Aug. 5, six named storms have formed and one hurricane. The NHC currently is watching two of the named storms – Ernesto and Florence. Previous forecasts had shown Ernesto strengthening into a hurricane by Monday. NHC meteorologists said Sunday that Ernesto mostly likely would remain a tropical storm prior to landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, perhaps north of Belize City. The intensity forecast now shows the storm becoming a hurricane by Friday morning off the coast of Mexico. Sunday afternoon Ernesto was located about 205 miles south-southwest of Kingston Jamaica.
Florence was located over the eastern Atlantic Ocean several hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands Sunday afternoon. Forecasters expect it to weaken and become a tropical depression by Thursday.
Peak of the season
Hurricane season forecasters update their predictions in August to coincide with what is typically the most active part of the season, August through October.
An average hurricane season includes ten tropical storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes with maximum sustained winds exceeding 110 mph, categories 3-5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
“However, the vast majority of tropical storm and hurricane activity typically occurs during the August-October peak of the hurricane season,” according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
The experts say 78 percent of tropical storm days usually occur in the three-month period, as well as 87 percent of minor hurricane days and 96 percent of major hurricane days. Maximum activity is in early to mid-September.