Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dr. William Gray has issued his first prediction for the Atlantic Hurricane season and the numbers predict a weaker season that should be about 25 percent less active than the long-term average.
Dr. Gray’s team at Colorado State forecasted 10 named storms, with 4 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season.
Gray said the probability for at least one major category 3 or above storm to hit somewhere along the U.S. coast at 42 percent. The average over the last century, according to Gray, is 52 percent.
As for Florida, Gray said there was a 24 percent chance of a category 3 or above storm hitting either side of the Florida peninsula. The average over the last century for Florida is 31 percent on the Atlantic Coast and 30 percent on the Gulf coast.
Gray’s team said that weak La Niña conditions in February-March should transition to El Niño conditions by September.
The forecast isn’t a guarantee of a weaker season and as Dr. Gray pointed out in his analysis, “Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early April.”
Overall, the forecast is built upon the assumption that past trends can give meaningful information about similar trends in future seasons.
But, even in a weak year, it can only take one major hurricane to do billions of dollars in damage and leave areas in ruins.
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne all hit during an El Niño hurricane season expected to be calmer than average.