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The 2011 hurricane season for the Atlantic
Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean
Less storms, still an active season overall,
with higher-than-normal intensity for the
Atlantic and a higher-than-normal impact
rating on the U.S. coast.
Prediction 2011: link: National Hurricane center
- 11 to 20 storms
- 5 to 11 hurricanes
- 2 to 6 intense hurricanes
Noted hurricane experts Philip J. Klotzbach, William M. Gray, and their associates at Colorado State University issue forecasts of hurricane activity each year, separately from NOAA. Klotzbach’s team, formerly led by Gray, determined the average number of storms per season between 1950 and 2000 to be 9.6 tropical storms, 5.9 hurricanes, and 2.3 major hurricanes (storms exceeding Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale). A normal season, as defined by NOAA, has 9 to 12 named storms, of which 5 to 7 reach hurricane strength and 1 to 3 become major hurricanes.
Although global surface temperatures increased during the late 20th century, there is no reliable data to indicate increased hurricane frequency or intensity in any of the globe’s other tropical cyclone basins since 1979. Global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) shows significant year-to-year and decadal variability over the past thirty years but no increasing trend (Figure 8). Similarly, Klotzbach (2006) found no significant change in global TC activity during the period from 1986-2005.
We should not read too much into the four very active hurricane seasons of 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. The activity of these years was unusual but well within natural bounds of hurricane variation.
What made the 2004-2005 and 2008 seasons so destructive was not the high frequency of major hurricanes but the high percentage of hurricanes that were steered over the US coastline. The US hurricane landfall events of these years were primarily a result of the favorable upper-air steering currents present during these years.
2011 storm names:
Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, Whitney
Tropical Storrm: MARIA