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. For the last three years, there have been 19 named storms each year.
Bear in mind that though the official hurricane season runs from June to November, it is not uncommon for storms to form before the start of the season, in May, or well beyond the end of the season right through to the following January. In 2012 both Alberto and Beryl formed in May. August and September are traditionally the most active months.
Hurricane predictions for 2013
The team led by Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University made their first predictions for the 2013 hurricane season in April 2013. They forecast an above average 2013 season with up to 18 named storms, nine of them hurricanes of which four will become major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater with sustained winds of 111 mph or more).
They are predicting that there is a 72% chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the United States eastern coastline during 2013 (average is 52%) with a 48% chance (average is 31%) for the eastern Florida peninsula and a 47% chance (average is 30%) for the Gulf Coast.
In early August they revised their forecast down slightly and while they are still predicting 18 named storms, they are now suggesting eight of them will become hurricanes and three of those will develop into major hurricanes. They have also reduced the landfall risk factors for Florida down from 48% to 40% for the eastern seaboard and 40% for the Gulf Coast.
Both Tropical Storm Risk and Weather Services International have also issued above early average predictions for the 2013 season. Above average surface sea temperatures and the reduced likelihood of El Niño developing prior to the season peak are expected to increase the number of storms this year.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) usually put out their first predictions in May of each year with a revised forecast in August. This year in May they predicted a 70% chance of there being 13–20 named storms, 7–11 hurricanes of which 3–6 could be major hurricanes. This puts their worst case scenario ahead of Colorado State University.
NOAA made their revised forecast in early August and they have downgraded their figures slightly to predict a 70% chance of there being 13–19 named storms, 6–9 hurricanes of which 3–5 could be major hurricanes.
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 but remember these are just predictions. It only takes one storm to do untold damage, just remember Katrina and Sandy.
Storm names for 2013
Each year a set of names alternating between boys and girls is chosen for all named storms. Names are often re-used but the names of particularly damaging hurricanes such as Katrina and Sandy are withdrawn and never used again.
The names for tropical storms and hurricanes in 2013 are as follows:
Thursday, June 6: Tropical Storm Andrea marks the start of the 2013 hurricane season. Andrea formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and is threatening the Florida Panhandle.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast up to northeast Florida plus the eastern Carolinas and southeast Virginia.
Andrea is currently tracking NNE at 13 mph with wind speeds of 60 mph and is expected to bring heavy rain and localised flooding. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet with dangerous rip currents is expected from Tampa northwards.
Wednesday, June 19: Tropical Storm Barry formed in the southern Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and started heading westwards at 10 mph towards Veracruz in mainland Mexico. Wind speeds are around 40 mph and it is expected to dump up to 10 inches of rain.
Monday, July 8: Tropical Storm Chantal formed on Sunday around 1,000 miles east of the Windward Islands. It tracked westwards at 26 mph with wind speeds of around 40 mph and was expected to reach the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday.
It was too early to predict its final path but instead of veering onto a more northerly path towards Florida, it fizzled out as it passed south of Haiti.
Saturday, August 3: After weakening, Dorian briefly regenerated off the Florida coastline as a Tropical Depression before breaking up again.
Tropical Storm Dorian formed on Wednesday, July 24, around 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. It started tracking westwards at 20 mph with wind speeds of up to 60 mph.
It was expected to approach Puerto Rico on Monday and then turn onto a more northerly path towards Florida and the Eastern Seaboard but it weakened before reaching the Caribbean.
Saturday, August 17: After briefly strengthening, Erin has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression as it continues to track westward.
Tropical Storm Erin formed west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands on Thursday.
Monday, August 26: Tropical Storm Fernand formed in the western Gulf of Mexico and quickly came ashore north of Veracruz. Torrential rain caused mudslides in Mexico which have resulted in at least 13 deaths.
Tuesday, September 10: Tropical Storm Gabrielle has reformed south of Bermuda and is tracking slowly northwards with wind speeds of 60 mph. It is now expected to continue tracking northwards towards the Northern Atlantic seaboard.
On September 5, Gabrielle weakened back to a Tropical Depression and was expected to have died within the next 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Gabrielle emerged in the Caribbean near the island of Puerto Rico on Wednesday and was forecast to track north at a speed of around 9 mph across Puerto Rico, the eastern Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Wednesday, September 11: Humberto has become the first hurricane and the eighth storm of the 2013 season. It is currently located around 310 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands and is tracking north-northwest at around 8 mph. It is expected to continue tracking northwards but then veering onto a more easterly direction as it weakens at the weekend.
Tropical Storm Humberto formed south east of the Cape Verde Islands off the African coast on Sunday. It started tracking north westwards at 10 mph with wind speeds of up to 50 mph.
It was expected to veer northwards and become the first hurricane of the 2013 season. It should not be a threat to the eastern US coastline by the weekend.
September is late for the first hurricane of the season, the record (since satellite recordings began in the 1960s) is currently held by Hurricane Gustav which become a hurricane on September 11, 2002. Normally by this time, most seasons are already on their third hurricane.
Sunday, September 15: After a relatively quiet start, two hurricanes have formed in a relatively short time. Ingrid formed on Friday in the western Gulf of Mexico and quickly strengthened to become the second hurricane of the 2013 season.
It is expected to hit the Mexican coastline north of Tampico on Monday with wind speeds of around 80 mph. 12 to 18 inches of rainfall are expected at the centre of the storm and heavy rain could impact as far north as South Texas.
Friday, October 4: Jerry has weakened to a Tropical Depression and is expected to disperse over the weekend.
Jerry was the 10th storm of the 2013 season but was not expected to impact the US. Jerry formed in the central Atlantic on Sunday and was forecast to track away from the US coastline in a north easterly direction.
Friday, October 4: Tropical Storm Karen is currently tracking northwest at 12 mph with wind speeds of 65 mph. It is forecast to strengthen to hurricane status and hit the US coastline somewhere between eastern Louisiana and the Northwest Florida Panhandle sometime over the weekend. Hurricane watches have been posted for the entire coastline.
Tropical Storm Karen formed on Thursday in the southern Gulf of Mexico and is the eleventh storm of the 2013 season.
Tuesday, October 22: Tropical Storm Lorenzo is the twelfth storm of the 2013 season and it formed on Sunday, southeast of Bermuda in mid Atlantic. It is tracking east northeast with wind speeds of 50 mph but is expected to weaken over the coming days.
Tuesday, November 19: Tropical Storm Melissa formed some 650 miles east of Bermuda and tracked in a north-easterly direction away from the United States. Wind speeds are around 65 mph but it is not expected to strengthen to hurricane status.