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2012 hurricane season predicted to be less active

A forecast team from Colorado State University has predicted a decreased level of activity in the Atlantic basin this hurricane season.

Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project say there will be an average of 10 named storms, with only four of those storms developing into hurricanes (two into major hurricanes) in the Atlantic this season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. The historical seasonal average is 12 tropical storms, with 6.5 of them becoming hurricanes.

The team reports that the tropical Atlantic has atypically cooled over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are relatively high.

“It is recommended that all vulnerable coastal residents make the same hurricane preparations every year, regardless of how active or inactive the seasonal forecast is,” Klotzbach said. “It takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season.”

The team predicts:

  • A 42 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2012 (the long-term average probability is 52 percent).
  • A 24 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula (the long-term average is 31 percent).
  • A 24 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville (the long-term average is 30 percent).

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season was above average, tying 2010 for the most named storms since 2005. The 2011 Atlantic season tied with the 2010, the 1995 and the 1887 Atlantic hurricane seasons for the third largest number of named storms with 19. There were seven hurricanes in 2011, four of which were major hurricanes.

Clay Electric Cooperative offers lots of information to help its members prepare for the possibility a hurricane may strike North Florida, including the 2012 Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Copies of the Preparedness Guide are also available at the cooperative’s six district offices. The guide contains a hurricane checklist, information on generator safety, helpful websites and a hurricane tracking map to help members stay safe during storm season.