Hurricane Predictions

The federal government has weighed the facts and predicts a very active hurricane season this year. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports that forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expect there will 13-to-16 tropical storms or hurricanes.

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"Thirteen to 16 looks pretty good to me, I think we'll be somewhere in that range."

Chris Hebert is the lead hurricane forecaster for Impact Weather who says there is something important to remember about hurricane forecasts.

"These early seasonal predictors are fun to think about and talk about but it only takes one hurricane to make for a really, really, bad year.

There were only four named storms in 1983 but the first one was Alicia, the category three that pounded the Houston area.

Hebert says it is difficult to accurately predict storms because one isolated event can play a large role in a storms life. Take for example hurricane Katrina. Hebert says a couple of times in its journey across the Atlantic it almost dissipated.

"Just the slightest change in atmospheric conditions can mean the difference between two or three or four more storms forming during a season. Really, what we look at are the patterns and the patterns that might steer these systems are what we're concerned with."

Hebert says the current warmer Atlantic Ocean and cooler Pacific Ocean are the conditions that existed in the 1940s, 50s and 60s when the southeast Atlantic coast got hit with an above normal number of hurricanes.

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