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Archive for May 24th, 2009

FEWW FORECAST: 2009 Likely Wettest Year on Record

Posted by feww on May 24, 2009

Drought and Deluge: The Buzzwords for 2009

Extreme Weather,Tropical Storms, Heavy Rainfalls, Moisture Dump by Intertropical Convergence Zone and Other Hydrological Mechanisms Would Ensure Perpetual Drought and Deluge in 2009 and Beyond

If 2009 won’t be remembered for the frequency of tropical storms, it could most likely be recorded as one of the wettest years, so far.

Drought and deluge would be the buzz words for the remainder of this year. Already significantly large geographical regions have been inundated by flooding caused by extreme rain events and storms worldwide.

In northern New South Wales, Australia, a week of heavy rainfall and cyclonic winds  have left thousands of hectares of coastal plains under water. Huge waves have pummeled the coastal regions, disrupting shipping activities in  major ports.

Every major river in the region has risen above historical records, most of them bursting their banks. Floodwaters have swept cars into the sea. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.

Residents make their way through the flooded streets of South Lismore May 22, 2009.  REUTERS/Michael Ross/Gold Coast Bulletin/Handout

In northern and northeastern Brazil, record heavy rains have forced up to half of a million people homeless, killing about 50. [Southern Brazil is experiencing extreme droughts, which have devastated the farmers in the region cutting their natural water supply by up to 50 percent.

An aerial view of the town of Anama, flooded by water from the Rio Solimoes river in Amazonas State, May 19, 2009. Floods and mudslides from months of heavy rains in northern Brazil have driven more than 300,000 from their homes and killed at least 44 people, according to Brazilian Civil Defense. REUTERS/Michael Dantas-A Critica (BRAZIL DISASTER ENVIRONMENT) BRAZIL OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN BRAZIL

2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook: Summary

NOAA says its 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts “a 50% chance of a near-normal season,” a 25% chance of an above-normal season and a 25% chance of a below-normal season. [The Atlantic hurricane region comprises the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.]

Just so that reader is not confused, NOAA provides the following table [information in the brackets added]

  • 9-14 Named Storms [Normal:11]
  • 4-7 Hurricanes  [6]
  • 1-3 Major Hurricanes [2]
  • An ACE range of 65%-130% of the median [100%]

[NOTE: This sort of forecast ensures that the forecaster is rarely embarrassed for not covering ALL probabilities]

Colorado State University report says:

The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season will have about as much activity as the average 1950-2000 season.

Expect about:

  • 6 hurricanes (average is 5.9),
  • 12 named storms (average is 9.6),
  • 55 named storm days (average is 49.1),
  • 25 hurricane days (average is 24.5),
  • 2 intense (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and
  • 5 intense hurricane days (average is 5.0).

University of North Carolina Forecast

The good professor marooned on the totally boring, uneventful University of North Carolina’s deserted campus had this to say [before academic rigor mortis set in]

Researchers at North Carolina State University believe that 2009 will bring a near-normal hurricane season, with storm activity in the Atlantic basin and the Gulf of Mexico slightly above the averages of past 50 years, but staying in line with those from the past 20 years.

According to Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, and collaborators Dr. Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics, and graduate student Danny Modlin, 2009 should see 11 to 14 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Frankly, a history professor and his undergrad students could have done … pretty much about the same.

For readers new to hurricane science, the Atlantic Hurricane Season officially starts on June 1, and lasts through November 30 every year. Each tropical system is given a name as soon as their storm strength reaches  sustained winds of 39 mph or more. Tropical storms are upgraded to  hurricanes when sustain wind speed reach 74 mph, and become major hurricanes when winds rise to 111 mph.  The first TS for 2009 will be Ana. [See also FEWW Hurricane Scale.]

More will follow …

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