2009 Florida Weather Highlights

2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season Statistics, split by category
2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season Statistics, split by category

Weather forecasters are saying that we can expect more active hurricane seasons for at least the next ten years so there is no reason to suggest that the next few years will be significantly quieter than the last couple of years.

Hurricane predictions for 2009

The team led by Professor William Gray from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University have made two early predictions for hurricanes in 2009. In December 2008, they forecast an above average 2009 season with 14 named storms, seven of them hurricanes of which three will become major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater with sustained winds of 111 mph or more). This is similar to their 2008 predictions.

They are also predicting that there is a 63 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the United States coastline during 2009 (average is 52%) with a 39 percent chance (average is 31%) for the eastern Florida peninsula and a 38 percent chance (average is 30%) for the Gulf Coast.

In April 2009 they then revised their forecast down to 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Further forecasts are expected in early June, August, September and October.

A team from North Carolina State University are forecasting 11 to 14 names storms with between six to eight hurricanes, a similar number to the Colorado team. They forecast that there is a 45% chance that a hurricane will hit the Southern States.

Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University team have over estimated named storms and hurricanes in recent years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put out their first predictions in May of each year and this year they have predicted nine to 14 named storms, with four to seven becoming hurricanes, of which one to three could become major hurricanes (Category 3 higher). The graph below shows the most pessimistic view of their predictions.

In August they revised their forecast down to between seven to eleven named storms, with three to six hurricanes and one to two major hurricanes with winds above 110 mph.

Storm names for 2009

The names for tropical storms and hurricanes in 2009 are as follows: Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri; Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.

Hurricane Ida

Tuesday, November 10: Ida reverted back to a Tropical Storm again yesterday before making landfall today near Dauphin Island in Alabama. It is now veering eastwards towards northern Florida and southern Georgia with wind speeds of 45 mph. A state of emergency has been declared for the Florida Panhandle.

On Sunday, Hurricane Ida strengthened to a category 2 hurricane with wind speeds of 100 mph as it passed into the Gulf of Mexico.

On Friday it weakened to a tropical depression after making landfall in Nicaragua but was expected to strengthen again as it moved back over open water.

On Thursday Ida became a category 1 hurricane with wind speeds of 75mph as it approached Nicaragua. It is expected to veer onto a more northly course over the coming days. It may hit the Yucutan Peninsula early next week.

After nearly a month of no activity, Ida formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. It started out heading west-northwest towards Nicaragua at 6 mph with wind speeds of around 60 mph.

Tropical Storm Henri

Tuesday, October 6: Tropical Storm Henri has formed around 600 miles east of the Northern Leeward islands.

It is moving west-northwest at around 18 mph with wind speeds of around 40 mph and like TS Grace before it, is expected to weaken very quickly.

Tropical Storm Grace

Monday, October 5: Tropical Storm Grace has formed in the far northeastern Atlantic some 600 miles northeast of the Azores.

It is currently tracking northeast at nearly 30 mph with windspeeds of around 70 mph and is expected to weaken though it may just reach hurricane status first.

Hurricane Fred

Wednesday, September 9: Hurricane Fred has strengthened with wind speeds of 105 mph and is heading west-northwest at around 13 mph.

It is expected to strengthen to a major hurricane but at this stage it is not expexted to make landfall.

Hurricane Fred formed on Tuesday around 300 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

Tropical Storm Erika

Friday, September 3: Tropical Storm Erika has weakened over the northeastern Caribbean and is not expected to pose any further threats.

Tropical Storm Erika formed around 400 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands on Wednesday with wind speeds of 50 mph and had been expected to strengthen.

It started tracking west-northwest at about 10 mph and its projected path took it north of the Leeward Islands and the Bahamas.

Tropical Storm Danny

Saturday, August 29: Tropical Storm Danny is moving northwards at about 8 mph and is currently south of Cape Hatteras. Dangerous rip currents could affect the Eastern Seaboard.

Tropical Storm Danny formed on Wednesday around 450 east of the Bahamas and headed west-northwest at about 18 mph. It had wind speeds of around 45 mph and then turned onto a more northerly track over the following days.

Tropical Storm Claudette

Monday, August 17: Tropical Storm Claudette weakened to a Tropical Depression as it made landfall near Fort Walton Beach just 12 hours after forming in the Gulf of Mexico.

It had originally formed on Sunday with wind speeds of 50 mph.

Hurricane Bill

Wednesday, August 18: Hurricane Bill is the first hurricane of the 2009 season and has strengthened to a major hurricane category 4 with wind speeds of around 135 mph. It is currently about 460 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is expected to pass northeast of Puerto Rico and turn more northward towards Bermuda.

It formed west of the Cape Verde islands on Sunday and started heading west-northwest at 16 mph.

Tropical Storm Ana

Monday, August 17: The first storm of 2009, Tropical Storm Ana has weakened to a Tropical Depression. It formed on Saturday in the Atlantic and headed toward the Leeward Islands.

Maximum sustained wind speeds were near 40 mph as it headed westwards at 16 mph. It had been expected to strengthen but in the end, this did not happen. Heavy rainfall still posed a threat to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Tornadoes

Tuesday, April 14: At least two tornadoes touched down in the Tampa Bay area but luckily without any serious injuries.

Previous Predictions

Last year in 2008 NOAA originally predicted that there would be between 12 and 16 named storms, with six to nine becoming hurricanes, of which two to five could become major hurricanes.

In August they upgraded their forecast to the number of tropical storms being between 14 to 18 named storms and seven to ten hurricanes and up to six major hurricanes.

In the end, there were 16 storms of which eight became hurricanes and five became major hurricanes.

In 2007, they had predicted up to 16 named storms and in the end there were 15 named storms of which only five became hurricanes.

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