Professor Gray predicts an average 2009 Hurricane Season

Tortola, BVI, April 14, 2009 (DDM)- Predictions released by Colorado State University’s of leading forecaster, Professor William Gray, calls for an average hurricane season in 2009. A press statement issued by Professor Gray and his team said that based on the potential for a weak El Nino event and an observed cooling of tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures, the number of hurricanes developing in 2009 would decrease.

Gray indicates that this hurricane season will be an average season with six hurricanes developing; with the risk that a major hurricane making landfall in the Caribbean is average as well. The forecasters said there would be a total of 12 named storms, including six hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, two are expected to develop into at least Category Three strength, or higher.

In 2008, there were 16 named storms including eight hurricanes, five of them were major.

Professor Gray, who is beginning his 26th year forecasting hurricanes at Colorado State University said; "We expect current weak La Nina conditions to transition to neutral and perhaps weak El Nino conditions by this year's hurricane season. If El Nino conditions develop for this year's hurricane season, it would tend to increase levels of vertical wind shear and decrease levels of Atlantic hurricane activity."

Professor Gray and his team also mentioned that they have seen uncharacteristic cooling of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic over the past few months. These cooler waters are associated with dynamic and thermodynamic factors that are less conducive for an active Atlantic hurricane season. Those factors are similar to conditions that occurred during 1951, 1968, 1976, 1985 and 2001 seasons. On average, those five seasons had average activity, and Gray and lead forecaster Phil Klotzbach predict the 2009 season will have activity in line with those years.

Even though an average hurricane season is predicted for 2009, Virgin Islanders are reminded to be prepared for the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season. General preparedness tips can be found

on the DDM’s website at or interested persons are welcome to visit our office at #3 Wailing Road, McNamara for more information.

The North Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through November 30. An official statement on this hurricane season perditions will be issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on May 21st2009.

Editor’s Notes
El Nino - warming of surface water in the Pacific Ocean
La Nina - periodic cooling of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific
Cat. 3 Hurricane - carrying sustained winds of 111 miles per hour

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