A leading meteorology group has predicted 17 named storms this season for the Gulf Coast, including five major hurricanes. The projections include a 74 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the U.S. coast.
MSNBC.com reported that the predictions from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project were almost identical to projections released in March by London-based Tropical Storm Risk. The London team forecast 17 tropical storms—nine of which would become hurricanes, and four of those would be considered major. U.S. government forecasters also predicted an active season, with 13 to 17 named storms and the potential for 10 of those to become hurricanes.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and averages around 9.5 named storms, with 2.3 of those strengthening into hurricanes.
Last year, the Colorado meteorologists predicted a busy hurricane season, though the actual season was not as busy as was originally thought. But NBC forecaster Gary Archibald said the team was unlikely to get the predictions wrong two years in a row. Archibald said that Dr. William Gray, head of the Tropical Meteorology Project, is one of the world’s leading forecasters.
Archibald said the ingredients are in place for a dangerous season, with the formation of La Niña winds over the Pacific—meaning cool winds could meet up and clash with warm air from the Atlantic.
Residents were unruffled by news of the predictions. Walter Blessey, of Biloxi, Miss., told NBC News: “If you live on the coast or near the ocean, sometimes you accept the perils of the sea.” Blessey’s home suffered more than a half-million dollars in damage from Hurricane Katrina.