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Fw: Hurricane season yet to peak

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  • Pat N self only
    ... Hurricane season yet to peak Four more
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2005
      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
      Hurricane season yet to peak
      Four more predicted this month alone
      By Ken Kaye
      Staff Writer
      September 3, 2005

      It's far from over.

      The peak of hurricane season doesn't officially
      arrive for another week, yet 13 named storms
      already have emerged. In a normal six-month
      season, 10 storms form, and on average the last
      one doesn't arrive until the end of October.

      Another seven to eight named systems are expected
      to form over the next three months, atmospheric
      conditions are conducive to supercharging them
      and steering patterns could drive some toward the
      U.S. shoreline, experts say.

      On Friday, storm prognosticator William Gray
      predicted that this month alone, four more
      hurricanes, two intense, would develop.

      "It's a sad thing to say, but we're not done,"
      said Stanley Goldenberg, meteorologist with the
      National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
      Hurricane Research Division.

      There already have been four hurricanes -- in the
      normal season, the fourth develops on average
      Sept. 24 -- and three of those, Dennis, Emily and
      Katrina, were intense, with winds greater than
      110 mph. Historically, only two major systems
      form per year.

      If the tropical hyperactivity continues, "there
      is a legitimate possibility that this could be
      the most active season on record," said Phil
      Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado
      State University. "We are definitely full

      Experts say the Atlantic basin has entered an era
      of hurricane intensity, the result of a natural
      cycle of warm water shifting to the region where
      storms are spawned and grow. The era began in
      1995 and could last another 10 to 30 years.

      From 1995 to 2004, there have been 141 named
      storms, including 78 hurricanes, 38 intense, the
      most active period in Atlantic tropical history.

      By comparison, during the first 10 years of the
      previous era of intensity, from 1944 to 1966,
      there were 103 named storms and 64 hurricanes, of
      which 35 were intense.

      If there is some good news, the last few tropical
      systems that formed in the Atlantic have had
      difficulty strengthening. On Friday, Tropical
      Storm Maria rose in the Central Atlantic and was
      forecast to aim north, without threatening land.

      However, as evidenced by Katrina, storms can fade
      and come back much stronger in the extremely warm
      waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
      Katrina started as Tropical Depression No. 10
      before dissipating into a wave -- which
      regenerated near the Bahamas.

      Forecasters predict a total of up to 21 named
      systems this year, enough to exhaust the list of
      standard hurricane names. The most storms ever
      recorded in a season: 21 in 1933.

      How many will make landfall and where is unknown.
      But so far, steering currents have aimed four
      systems toward the north Gulf Coast, including
      tropical storms Arlene and Cindy and hurricanes
      Dennis and Katrina -- much as the Bermuda High,
      an area of high pressure in the Eastern Atlantic,
      pushed storm after storm toward Florida last year.

      Some scientists blame global warming for the
      surge in tropical activity. Notably, Kerry
      Emanuel, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      professor and meteorologist, found that the
      strength and duration of storms have increased by
      50 percent since the 1970s. He found a high
      correlation between hurricane power and
      sea-surface temperatures.

      Many in the hurricane-forecasting community dispute that.

      "If global warming were to blame, one would
      expect tropical cyclones in all basins -- that
      is, West Pacific, East Pacific, Indian, Southern
      Hemisphere -- to increase," Klotzbach said.
      "However, global tropical cyclones have actually
      decreased over the past 10 years."

      (??? Tim)

      He and others point to additional factors that
      have promoted storm formation this year,
      including low vertical wind shear, above average
      rainfall in West Africa during June and July, and
      intense heat waves that have resulted in
      record-breaking temperatures across the United

      "We don't know why, but it appears that might be
      associated with conditions that produce the
      really, really intense hurricanes," Goldenberg

      For example, at their strongest points, Hurricane
      Dennis spun up to 150 mph before hitting near
      Pensacola as a Category 3; Hurricane Emily, 155
      mph before striking the Yucatan as a Category 3
      and Hurricane Katrina, 175 mph, before slamming
      New Orleans, and Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., as a
      Category 4.

      Hurricane authorities urge residents not to be
      caught up in numbers, but rather be prepared.

      "What it comes down to is, are you ready for the
      rest of this year?" Goldenberg said. "Have a
      party with your supplies when the season's over."

      Ken Kaye can be reached at kkaye@... ore 954-385-7911.
      Copyright � 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

      Posted by Tim

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