By Justin Drabick
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins June 1st, and once again, an active season is expected.
The 2012 hurricane season was impressive with 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes, with the first two storms of the season forming in May.
The biggest storm was Sandy, tearing up the Jersey Shore as the remnants made landfall near Brigantine, NJ. Sandy caused more than $50 billion in damage in the U.S. and killed 72 people across eight states.
Sandy’s name was officially retired.
A main factor this year for an active season is the lack of an El Nino. El Nino is warmer than average water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, which can inhibit tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin.
Another factor is that the water temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean are currently above average. This can help intensify any tropical systems that develop.
It only takes one landfall to make for an active season, but forecasting when and where a storm will make landfall before it develops is impossible. An East Coast landfall will depend on where the Bermuda High pressure system sets up. A high that is farther east helps storms stay out to sea, and a high that is farther west could steer a tropical system up the east coast due to its clockwise wind flow.
After researching past years that had similar climate conditions to 2013, I found that each had average to above average tropical activity. Since Pacific Ocean conditions are neutral, tropical Atlantic conditions are warmer than average and we are currently in the middle of a 25 year active tropical period, another active season is expected.
The CBS3 2013 hurricane forecast is for 14-18 named storms, 7-9 hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes that are category 3 or higher.
The Atlantic Hurricane season averages 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. The peak of the season is September 10th and it officially ends on November 30th.