WSI Raises 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

In its updated tropical forecast for 2012, WSI (Weather Services International) has increased the 2012 forecast to 13 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 intense hurricanes (category 3 or greater). 
These numbers are slightly higher than the previous forecast of 12/6/3, and are quite close to the adjusted long-term (1950-2011) averages of 12 named storms/7 hurricanes/3 intense hurricanes and averages from the more active recent period (1995-2011) of 15/8/4.

“Although we got off to a fast start in 2012, we feel that the heart of the season will be much less active than the last two, as an El Nino event continues to mature slowly and provide an unfavorable environment for tropical development,” said Dr. Todd Crawford,WSI Chief Meteorologist. 

“However, the combination of a fast start and the recent increase in North Atlantic surface temperature anomalies over the last month dictate that we make another small increase to our forecast numbers. Further, the slow emergence of El Nino impacts as summer transitions into fall typically means that the bulk of the activity occurs during August-September, with a fairly quiet back half of the season.”

Crawford also indicated there was no particularly strong landfall signal for 2012 at this point. 

“The landfall of Irene in 2011 was the first hurricane landfall in three years, which, in the context of the historical record, is an unusually long lull. For 2012, the current forecast from our landfall model depicts slightly below-normal probabilities of landfall from Florida and up the East Coast, with slightly above-normal probabilities in the Gulf.”

The next WSI seasonal forecast update, which will include the fall forecast and a first look at winter, will be issued on August 21. The next update for the 2012 tropical season will be released on August 22.