2007 Hurricane Season Forecast: Media Frenzy

Here we go again…another forecast for an “exceptionally active” hurricane season. Last spring, similar forecasts were touted following the horrific 2005 hurricane season. But what went largely unreported regarding last year’s hurricane season was how quiet it ended up being and how horribly incorrect those forecasts were. Obviously we have yet to know how accurate this year’s forecasts will be; only time will tell. At least a few big names are going on record as forecasting another busier-than-average season. I would imagine this will grab plenty of headlines over the coming days:

The Atlantic hurricane season will be exceptionally active this year, according to a British forecasting group, raising the possibility that killer storms like Hurricane Katrina could again threaten the United States.

London-based forecaster Tropical Storm Risk on Tuesday said the six-month season, which begins on June 1, was expected to bring 17 tropical storms, of which nine will strengthen into hurricanes with winds of at least 74 miles per hour. Four of those are expected to become more destructive “intense” hurricanes, TSR said.

The long-term average for the Atlantic is for 10 storms to form during the hurricane season and for six of those to reach hurricane strength.

The article goes to cite the inaccuracies in last year’s forecasts:

The United States emerged unscathed from the 2006 season after it spawned a below-average nine storms, of which five became hurricanes. Experts had universally — and erroneously — predicted 2006 would be a busy year for Atlantic storms.

I have a feeling any article mentioning hurricane forecasts will still remind us of the horrors of the 2005 season, as this one has:

None of the hurricanes hit the United States, bringing welcome relief to beleaguered residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast, where Katrina killed 1,500 people, swamped New Orleans and caused about $80 billion in damage the year before.

As of 5:39pm EST 03/21/07, the article cited in the opening of this post yields 13 ‘related articles’ results from a google news search. Let’s see how this count mushrooms over the coming hours and days. I only wish we could somehow see how many (or rather, how few) headlines would have been created had this forecast been for minimal activity this hurricane season. I guess the absence of headlines following last year’s remarkably quiet season was a good indicator.

That said, I am in agreement with the overall opinion of a higher-than-average hurricane season. Sea surface temperatures are one of the best indicators of hurricane season trends and appear favorable for hurricane development this season. It is not the above-average forecasts themselves that I question, rather the play these will get in the mainstream media. After all, the planet has a fever, folks! Read much more about Al Gore’s senate testimony via Noel Sheppard’s Newsbusters posts here and here.

[tags]Hurricanes, 2007 Hurricane Forecast, Tropical Meteorology, Extreme Weather, Al Gore[/tags]


Leave a Reply