2009 Forecast Calls for Six Hurricanes, Two of Them Intense

Andover, Mass.-based WSI Corp. has updated its 2009 hurricane season forecast, which continues to call for 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two intense hurricanes (category 3 or greater). These forecast numbers are the same as the previous WSI forecasts issued in April and May due to a continuation of relatively cool tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures and a trend toward El Nino conditions in the tropical Pacific.

The 2009 forecast numbers are quite close to the long-term (1950-2008) average of 9.8 named storms, 6.0 hurricanes, and 2.5 intense hurricanes, but are significantly lower than the numbers from the relatively active seasons of the past 15 years, says WSI, a company that provides weather-driven business systems for professionals in the energy, aviation, government, and media markets.

"Ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are cooler, relative to normal, than at any time since 1994," said WSI seasonal forecaster Dr. Todd Crawford. "Further, the new El Nino event continues to strengthen, and the recent patterns of tropical Pacific thunderstorm development have already responded to El Nino. This has resulted in an unfavorable wind shear environment across the tropical Pacific. This early emergence of this enhanced wind shear along with the relatively cool tropical Atlantic temperatures will almost certainly result in a less-active season than last year, and could potentially result in an unusually quiet season. While we have persisted our forecast numbers in response to the latest information, any future changes to our forecast are more likely to be towards smaller numbers than larger numbers."

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