Image by NASA A view of Hurricane Felix from the International Space Station in September 2007.
The 2011 Hurricane Season doesn't officially start until June 1st, but the media storm is here with Colorado State University's William Gray issuing the "2011 Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Forecast."
So what's in the tea leaves for the Lowcountry?
Well, an above-average season of tropical weather is expected with 16 named storms and five major storms forecast. The report also calls for an above-average 48% chance of a storm making landfall on the East Coast.
South Carolina is given a near twice-normal 28.3% chance of hurricane impact and 6.6% chance of a major storm's impact. Charleston County is given a 14.2% chance of a named storm making landfall, a 9.5% chance of a hurricane, and a 37.8% chance of experiencing tropical storm force winds or more.
“We expect that anomalously warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures combined with neutral tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures will contribute to an active season,” said Phil Klotzbach of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project. “We have reduced our forecast slightly from early December due to a combination of recent ocean warming in the eastern and central tropical Pacific and recent cooling in the tropical Atlantic.”
And, as always, take a ton of salt with forecasts; they will change a lot.