A first look at hurricane season 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Hurricane forecasting experts at Colorado State released their predictions for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season this week.  If their forecast is correct it would appear 2012 should feature below normal tropical activity in terms of named storms and hurricanes.

Dr. Phil Klotzbach and his team predict 10 named storms (12 is normal) and 4 hurricanes (6 is normal).  When it comes to major hurricanes, category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the forecast is for 2 (2 is normal).  Still there is a 42% chance a major hurricane will strike the U.S. coast (52% is normal).  Remember it only takes one direct hurricane strike to make for a bad hurricane season.  Now is the time to begin preparations.

Two big changes have occurred in recent months that have contributed to less favorable conditions for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic.  First average water temperatures have dropped significantly on average in the tropical Atlantic compared to one year ago.  Second La nina conditions in the equatorial Pacific, which leads to lighter wind shear in the Atlantic basin have disappeared and could even be in the process of reversing to El Nino.  If El Nino conditions develop wind shear will increase over the Atlantic basin making for a generally hostile environment for tropical development.

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