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Gray's Forecast Updated to Fewer Storms

Sept. 1, 2006 – "Current conditions in the Atlantic indicate that we will now see a slightly below average hurricane season with far less activity than was experienced in each of the last two years," said Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University in a news release issued Friday.
Klotzbach, William Gray and their team of forecasters cut the total number of storms they predict will form during the 2006 hurricane season.
Those changes include dryer tropical Atlantic mid-level moisture files, high levels of Sahara dust over the Atlantic, and a warmer eastern equatorial Pacific, which indicates a potential El Niño event this fall.
The team predicts a total of 13 named storms, with five becoming hurricanes and two developing into major hurricanes with winds over 111 mph during the 2006 hurricane season.
This is down from 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three intense hurricanes they predicted Aug. 3. At that time, Gray and Klotzbach reduced their May 31 prediction of 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five intense hurricanes.
The long-term average stands at 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes.
Klotzbach and Gray also came out Friday with their September and October forecasts.
"We predict September and October will exhibit characteristics of a more average year based on the activity so far this season and climate signals through August," Klotzbach said.
The September-only forecast calls for five named storms, three hurricanes and two intense hurricanes, which Gray and Klotzbach said was slightly above average.
In October, they think two named storms and one hurricane will develop. They don't predict any major hurricanes.
So far, five storms formed, with only what is now Tropical Depression Ernesto briefly reaching hurricane status. Ernesto is now dumping rain along the East Coast of the United States.
Gray and Klotzbach said that June and July had average amounts of tropical cyclone activity, with Alberto and Beryl forming. Ernesto and Tropical Storms Chris and Debby formed in August.
As for the weather in the Virgin Islands, meteorologist Brian Seeley at the National Weather Service in San Juan said the weekend looks "pretty decent."
"Thunderstorms and showers are possible," he said.
Looking ahead, he said a low pressure system around 55 degrees west latitude has some closed circulation, but is not expected to develop.
However, he said there's a tropical wave around 37 or 38 degrees west longitude that shows some organization and "chance for development."
Seeley said that the wave was about five days away from reaching the region.
Seeley said that so far, this has been a boring hurricane season for forecasters. He had the same thing to say about last year's hurricane season, which set the record for the number of storms in one year.
"Twenty-eight storms in the Atlantic and not one touched us," he said.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

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