RICHMOND, Va (WRIC-TV) – It has already been an active tropical season and we are not even at the peak of the season yet.
Yesterday, there was an alarming forecast update issued by researchers at Colorado State University about this year’s tropical season. In April they predicted 16 named storms, 8 of those would become hurricanes and 4 of those would be classified as major hurricanes, which are storms of category 3 or winds at 115mph or greater. The update yesterday is now for 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes. This forecast does take into account that we have had 9 named storms already with 2 hurricanes, but this is a dramatic jump.
This morning the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) followed suit but releasing a new forecast with substantial increases. Initially their forecast called for 13 to 19 named storms, with 6 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 6 of those would be major hurricanes. The new forecast calls for 19 to 25 named storms, with 7 to 11 hurricanes and 3 to 6 being major.
This year looks to rival that of 2005, which was the most active tropical season ever on record. We went through the entire list of names that year and went 6 letters deep into the Greek alphabet to name storms. That is what might happen this year if the forecast is correct and we go through our current list of names.
Just to jog your memory, 2005 was the year of Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, those were all major hurricanes. In 2005 that year we had 27 named storms, a record 15 hurricanes and 7 of those were major hurricanes, with 4 of them reaching category 5 status at one point in their life cycle. A category 5 storm has winds greater than 156mph.