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NC State Predicts Active Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2010

Researchers at North Carolina State University believe that hurricane activity will be above normal in the Atlantic basin in 2010.

According to Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, and collaborators Dr. Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics, and graduate student Danny Modlin, 2010 should see 15 to 18 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. This number is significantly higher than the 50-year average of nine to 11 named storms.

Of those named storms, eight to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and there is an 80 percent chance that one of those storms will make landfall along the coast of the southeastern United States, and a 70 percent chance that the landfalling storm will arrive as a hurricane.

As for the Gulf, Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of five to seven named storms forming, of which two to four will become hurricanes. The researchers expect three to six of the named storms to make landfall along the Gulf, and there is an 80 percent chance that at least one of those storms will be of hurricane status. In addition, there is a 55 percent chance that one major hurricane will hit the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Xie’s methodology evaluates data from the last 100 years on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, in order to predict how many storms will form and where they will make landfall.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

The Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences is part of NC State’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.