Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Forecasters: Hurricane season was mild

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season was less active than forecasters thought it would be, with six hurricanes developing instead of the nine predicted, a top weather researcher said Tuesday.


Cooler water and the presence of wind shears in the central tropical Atlantic made this an average season instead of the above-average year the team expected, said Phil Klotzbach, a member of researcher William Gray's team at Colorado State University.

Cooler temperatures inhibit hurricane formation, and wind shears can tear developing hurricanes apart.

Gray has been forecasting hurricanes for more than two decades, and his predictions for the season are watched closely by emergency responders and others in coastal areas. The Atlantic season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

This year, Gray's April and June forecasts both predicted 17 named storms, including nine hurricanes, five of them major. In August, the team lowered that forecast to 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, four of them major.

Instead, the year produced 14 named storms, including six hurricanes, two of them major. It's the second straight year the team predicted more hurricanes than actually occurred.


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