Posted on 07 Apr 2009
Colorado State University's Atlantic hurricane forecast was lowered today to 12 named storms for the 2009 season, with six developing into hurricanes.
Researchers William Gray and Philip Klotzbach cut the number from a preliminary estimate of 14 in December. Two of the hurricanes should reach major strength, meaning winds of 111 mph (178 kph) or more on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, they said today.
The Fort Collins, Colorado, school’s forecasts are followed by insurers and energy markets, and last year almost hit the mark exactly. In April 2008, Gray and Klotzbach predicted 15 storms would form; in August they raised the outlook to 17. The 2008 season spawned an above-average 16 named storms.
"I have much respect for the team of hurricane forecasters at CSU,” said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist at Planalytics Inc., a private forecaster in Wayne, Pennsylvania. He spoke in an interview prior to the release. “The CSU hurricane forecast is probably the most sought-after and used product on a national basis.”
The 2009 forecast was cut because Atlantic tropical sea surface temperatures are the lowest they have been since 1994, meaning less fuel for hurricane development, Klotzbach said in a telephone interview today. Temperatures in the area are about 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 to 29.4 Celsius), he said.