Dr. William Gray has released his forecast for 2011 and once again things are expected to stay active in the Atlantic. Earlier this month a disturbance threatened to kick off the tropical season a little early, fortunately that didn’t happen.
So for now we can just focus on the expected number of storms. Dr. Gray and his colleagues are forecasting 16 named storms in the Atlantic Ocean. Of those 16 storms, 9 are expected to reach hurricane strength with 5 major storms (category 3, 4 or 5). The forecast does not try and predict the path of these future storms or whether any will strike the US mainland. For now we just wait for the official start to the hurricane season on June 1st. The peak time for hurricanes is generally August and September.
The National Hurricane Center in Florida is planning on launching some new web based tools for tracking and following the tropics. We hope to utilize some of that and bring more coverage to you in the months ahead.