The official NHC hurricane forecast won't be out for a couple of months yet, but Dr. Bill Gray's updated April forecast is calling for another active season with 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes (5 of them intense) along with a 64% probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the eastern coast of the US. Hopefully we won't see a repeat of last year's storm season.
The report makes for an interesting read and offers a look at some of the things looked at to come up with a hurricane forecast.
Information obtained through March 2006 continues to indicate that the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season will be much more active than the average 1950-2000 season. We estimate that 2006 will have about 9 hurricanes (average is 5.9), 17 named storms (average is 9.6), 85 named storm days (average is 49.1), 45 hurricane days (average is 24.5), 5 intense (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 13 intense hurricane days (average is 5.0). The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 55 percent above the long-period average. We expect Atlantic basin Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity in 2006 to be about 195 percent of the long-term average. This early April forecast is based on a newly devised extended range statistical forecast procedure which utilizes 52 years of past global reanalysis data. Analog predictors are also utilized. We have maintained our forecast from our early December prediction as the Atlantic Ocean, although cooling slightly with respect to climatology, remains anomalously warm and central and eastern tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures anomalies have continued to cool. Currently, weak La Niña conditions are observed. We expect either neutral or weak La Niña conditions to be present during the upcoming hurricane season.