NC State predicts active hurricane season

Posted April 14, 2011 4:07 p.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2011 8:31 a.m. EDT

— Researchers at North Carolina State University said Thursday that they believe hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin will be above normal in 2011.

Thirteen to 16 named storms will form in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to N.C. State researchers Lian Xie and Montserrat Fuentes and graduate student Morgan Lennon.

Over the last 50 years, there were 9.6 named storms in an average year. Last year, there were 19 named storms.

Of the named storms expected this season, seven to nine may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, the researchers said. There is a 70 percent chance that one will make landfall along the coast of the southeastern United States, a 40 percent chance that it will be a hurricane when it hits the coast and a 15 percent chance it will be a major hurricane, they said.

Xie’s 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, to predict how many storms will form and where they will make landfall.

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