2001 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
May 21, 2001
This is Hurricane Awareness Week, and preliminary forecasts for the 2001 season have already been made by several groups, including William Gray's team at Colorado State University. Colorado State doesn't seem like a likely place to study hurricanes, but then again you don't necessarily have to be battered by hurricanes each year to make forecasts of them. This coming hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1, is expected to be about average for the last 50 years. According to Gray, for information obtained through March 2001, there's an indication that the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season will be less active than the recent, very busy 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 seasons but more active than the period of low activity from the early 1970s through the mid 1990s.
Predictive signals in the Atlantic basin including Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTAs) and surface pressure are quite favorable for more activity. It's anticipated that the primary suppressing influences on this year's activity will be the development of a weak to moderate El Niño this summer. Gray estimates that 2001 should see about 6 hurricanes (average is 5.7), 10 named storms (average is 9.3), 50 named storm days (average is 47), 2 intense (category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.2), and a Hurricane Destruction Potential (HDP) of 65 (average is 71). U.S. landfall probability is forecast to be 5-10 percent above the long term average.
The image of above was taken of Hurrican Alberto late last summer.