Weather

N.C. State researchers expect active hurricane season

Posted April 26, 2010 12:54 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2010 10:51 a.m. EDT

— Researchers at North Carolina State University on Monday issued a prediction of above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin in 2010.

The researchers, led by Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, and Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics, forecast 15 to 18 named storms in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

The 50-year average is nine to 11 named storms in the Atlantic.

Eight to 11 of the named storms could reach hurricane strength, the researchers said.

There is an 80 percent chance that one of the named storms will make landfall along the southeastern U.S. coast and a 70 percent chance that the storm will arrive as a hurricane, they said.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the researchers expect five to seven named storms, with two to four becoming hurricanes. Three to six of the named storms will make landfall along the Gulf Coast, they said, and there is an 80 percent chance that at least one of those storms will be a hurricane.

The researchers said the Gulf Coast has a 55 percent chance of being hit by at least one major hurricane of Category 3 or higher.

Xie’s methodology evaluates data from the last 100 years on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as variables like weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form and where they will make landfall.

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