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Halo 12-06-2005 01:58 PM

Expert: Hurricanes in 2006 should be less intense than '05
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The Gulf Coast is highly unlikely to see hurricanes next year as destructive as those that roared ashore in 2004 and 2005, Colorado State University hurricane forecaster William Gray said Tuesday.

Gray, who has been predicting hurricane activity for 22 years, and fellow researcher Philip Klotzbach said after hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma combined for the costliest hurricane season on record, the 2006 season will probably see higher-than-average hurricane activity but fewer intense storms making landfall.

"Enhanced major hurricane activity is likely to continue in the Atlantic basin for the next 15 to 20 years, but the probability of seeing another two consecutive hurricane seasons with as many landfalling hurricanes as was witnessed in 2004 and 2005 is very low," Gray said in his first extended forecast for 2006.

For 2006, Gray's team expects warm tropical and North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures to continue as they have in most years since 1995, "as well as neutral or weak La Nina conditions -- a recipe for greatly enhanced Atlantic basin hurricane activity."

In December 2004, Gray predicted 2005 would see 11 named storms with six becoming hurricanes. His forecast said three hurricanes would be major storms with sustained winds of at least 111 mph, and a 69 percent chance of at least one striking the U.S. mainland.

During the season, there were 26 named storms, 14 of which were hurricanes and seven of which were intense hurricanes -- or about 263 percent of the long-term averages of 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per season, Gray said.

For 2006, Gray predicted tropical storm activity of about 195 percent of average, or 17 named storms, nine of which could become hurricanes and five of which are expected to develop into major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Gray's research team also predicted an 81 percent chance, well above the 52 percent long-term average probability, that at least one major hurricane would make landfall along the U.S. coastline in 2006.

The team's forecasts are based on a premise that hurricane activity can be predicted based on global oceanic and atmospheric conditions that preceded past hurricane activity.

newshound 12-09-2005 11:23 AM

RE: Expert: Hurricanes in 2006 should be less intense than
I thought they said it was going to be crazy for 20 years. Of course it was 35 year in between Betsy and Katrina. I think they may have time to get the levee back up and better before next Hurricane season.

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