Researchers Predict “Near Normal” 2009 Hurricane Season

June 1, 2009
By Cherry Crayton

Hurricane ImageNC State researchers predict 2009 will be a “near-normal [Atlantic] hurricane season,” which begins today and runs through Nov. 30, with 11 to 14 named storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean.

Of those named storms, six to eight may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and there is a 45 percent chance that one of those storms will make landfall along the coast of the southeastern United States as a hurricane. . . .The researchers expect two to four named storms to make landfall along the Gulf, and there is a 70 percent chance that at least one of those storms will be of hurricane status.

The predictions are based on the research of Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, and his collaborators Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics, and Danny Modlin, a graduate student in statistics.

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.

How much stock should you put in the predictions? In a spring 2008 AP story, Xie said:

“Results presented herein are for scientific information exchange only. . . . Users are at their own risk for using the forecasts in any decision making.”

(Photograph courtesy of NC State’s State Climate Office of North Carolina)


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