Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tropical Storm Arthur begins the Atlantic hurricane season

Likely short-lived and barely a tropical storm, Arthur formed over the northwest Caribbean Sea, at noon CDT today and within an hour had already moved across the coast of Belize moving westward into the Yucatan Peninsula. Mainly a rain-maker for Central America, there is a slight chance that the remnants of Arthur could re-appear over the Bay of Campeche after crossing the Yucatan and re-form into a Tropical Storm again before moving into the Mexican mainland.

While the storm itself is of little consequence outside the small area it affects, it does signal the beginning of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season, which is predicted to be above average by both NOAA and tropical prediction expert Dr. William Gray of Colorado State. NOAA is calling for a 90% chance of a near or above normal season in terms of tropical activity with a 60-70% chance of 12-16 named storms, 6-9 hurricanes, and 2-5 major (Cat 3+) hurricanes (the yearly average is 11, 6 and 2, respectively). Dr. Gray predicts a "well above-average" season for 2008, calling for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes, and an nearly 70% chance that a najor hurricane (Cat 3 or higher) will strike the U.S. coastline this season. The next 6 months will tell!

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