N.C. State University researchers predict normal hurricane season

Posted April 9, 2009
Updated April 12, 2009

— Researchers at North Carolina State University said Thursday that 2009 should be a "near-normal" hurricane season.

Storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico will be slightly above the averages of past 50 years but in line with those from the past 20 years, said Lian Xie, a professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.

Xie, statistics professor Montserrat Fuentes and graduate student Danny Modlin have forecast 11 to 14 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Six to eight of those named storms might grow strong enough to become hurricanes, they said, and there is a 45 percent chance that one of those storms will make landfall along the coast of the southeastern United States as a hurricane.

Xie's data indicate the likelihood of three to five named storms forming in the Gulf of Mexico, of which one to three will become hurricanes. The researchers expect two to four named storms to make landfall along the Gulf Coast or Mexico, and there is a 70 percent chance that at least one of those storms will be of hurricane status.

"The data show that the number of storms this year will not vary significantly from those of the past 20 years. In fact, 2009's numbers are slightly lower than last year's prediction of 13 to 15 named storms," Xie said in a statement.

His methodology evaluates data from the last 100 years on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables like weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.


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  • 1carpe Apr 10, 2009

    First if you want real accurate weather forcasting..move to Oklamoma. No mountains or oceans to effect their weather. The value of the seasonal predictions is to help push preparedness and to keep the potential of the storms in front of people. It seems to work at least a little since you are discussing it. Comment to UNCFan who thinks we should fire the forcasters and spend the money on the poor, have you ever looked at the lives saved by hurricane forcasters today compared to even 30 years ago. But I am sure since in your mind only "rich white people" live at the coast, it really doesn't matter.

    The science improves every year, and because of that, so does our ability to plan for and respond to devestating weather events.

  • jbrown100 Apr 10, 2009

    Always gloom and doom and the sky is falling message...why not some good news like there is a 55% chance that a Hurricane will make landfall?

  • What The Deuce Apr 9, 2009

    Have they revised their prediction yet?

  • warrior5011 Apr 9, 2009

    Guys and Gals, it's called science.

    Sure, right now it may seem silly or wasteful to research and predict hurricane activity, but advances have and will be made every year. And don't think for a second this data isn't valuable. Many large companies already use similar data to determine budget forecasts and hiring schedules. Pharmaceutical companies can you use advance forecasting to determine how much of vaccine X they need to manufacture. The applications go on and on.

    If everyone had the same attitude as many of you, most if not all of the wonderful technologies we enjoy today, would be nonexistent.

    Scientists are seriously the Rodney Dangerfields of world "Can't get no respect".

  • jam2 Apr 9, 2009

    Amen, jprime!

  • Humungous Apr 9, 2009

    I'm certainly releived. Now I can plan my vacation.

  • iron fist Apr 9, 2009

    Why do they even prdict the storms, they are never correct just like the weather forcasters, even a blind squirrel will find a nut sometimes.

  • smegma Apr 9, 2009

    I guess that means this is the year we get slammed with 40 or 50 storms

  • jprime Apr 9, 2009

    I think its valuable research. If we knew as much about tornadoes as we do about hurricanes a lot less people would be killed each year.

  • jam2 Apr 9, 2009

    hehe ya'll have no idea what you are talking about! It's kinda sweet.