Hurricane season predictions go from bad to worse

 The
2010 Atlantic hurricane season will be even more active than feared, leading
U.S. forecasters said on Wednesday as they predicted 10 hurricanes, five of
them major, with a 76 per cent likelihood that a major hurricane would hit the
U.S. coastline.

The
outlook from the Colorado State University team follows predictions by U.S.
government scientists for an intense season that could disrupt efforts to contain
a huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill and also batter earthquake-ravaged
Haiti.

Increasing
a previous estimate for a “very active” season, the leading CSU storm
research team founded by hurricane forecast pioneer William Gray said the
six-month season beginning on 1 June would likely see 18 named tropical storms.

Of
these, CSU saw 10 becoming hurricanes, with five becoming major Category 3 or
higher hurricanes with winds above 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour).

The
CSU scientists increased their forecast from an 7 April prediction of 15 named
storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

The
CSU team saw a 51 per cent chance that a major hurricane would make landfall on
the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula, and a 51 per cent
chance that one would hit the Gulf Coast, from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville,
Texas.

It
put the chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean at 65 per cent.

Detailing
weather conditions seen favouring the formation of hurricanes, Gray said the
CSU team increased its forecast “due to a combination of a transition from
El Nino to current neutral conditions and the continuation of unusually warm
tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures.

 We’ll
have more on Dr. Gray’s predictions and what it means for the Caribbean in
Friday’s Caymanian Compass.

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