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CSU Forecast: 72% Chance of Major Hurricane Landfall in 2013

A well-known team of forecasters from Colorado State University say at least one named storm will be spinning in the Atlantic Ocean for an equivalent of three months of the upcoming six-month hurricane season.

Of greater consequence, the team says there is a 72 percent chance at least one of these storms will strengthen to a major hurricane and make landfall somewhere on the U.S. coast from Texas to Maine.

Current available evidence of ocean temperature and other factors leads forecasters Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray of the university’s Department of Atmospheric Science to call for 18 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes of Category 3 (sustained winds of at least 11 mph) during the hurricane season.

The pair’s much-anticipated report also forecasts the number of named-storm, hurricane, and major-hurricane days. The 2013 hurricane season is expects to have 95 named-storm days, with 40 days occupied by a hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30.

Possibly the most important prognostication by the duo is their probability of a land-falling hurricane. Klotzbach and Gray say there is a 72 percent chance at least one major hurricane lands on the coast. Additionally, they say there is a 48 percent probability for a major-hurricane landfall on the East Coast and a 47 percent chance a major hurricane slips under the Florida Peninsula to strike one of the Gulf States, which includes the west coast of Florida.

These probabilities are well-above the historical average for the last century, according to the report.

Klotzbach and Gray, who will release forecast updates on June 1 and at the start of August, are by far the only ones in the hurricane-prediction game (though Gray has been at it for 30 years).

Recently Tropical Storm Risk, Impact Forecasting, Weather Services International and WeatherBell Analytics have chimed in with hurricane forecasts.

Hurricane prediction, especially as far out as April, is inexact and most forecasters will say so. The CSU team attaches the recent history of its forecasts to their report. Last year the pair in August predicted 14 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Last year the Atlantic Ocean saw 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

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