Oct. 2, 2003 – William Gray and his team of hurricane forecasting experts at Colorado State University said on Thursday that they expect to see three named storms and two hurricanes in October, but no major hurricanes.
This is the first year that Gray has issued an October-only forecast. It was the second year that he issued one for September alone.
Updating his seasonal prediction, Gray said he thinks the 2003 season — June 1 through Nov. 30 — will end up having 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and two major hurricanes. So far, 11 named storms have occurred, with six becoming hurricanes, two of those — Fabian and Isabel — developing into major hurricanes.
The long-term average stands at 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes.
Gray said in a release that he was on target with his August prediction and close to the mark for September. He expected three named storms, one hurricane and one intense hurricane, for August, which is exactly what occurred. For September, he forecast four named storms, two hurricanes and one intense storm. Three hurricanes formed, instead of two.
The monthly forecasts add greater insight into the variability of hurricane behavior, Gray said. "We feel very positive about the progress of our monthly forecasts," he said.
The team also predicts the probability of landfall along the entire U.S. coastline, but does not make a similar prediction for the Virgin Islands. For October, the forecasters see a 35 percent chance of a named storm hitting the East Coast. The long-term average stands at 29 percent.
There is a 17 percent chance of a hurricane hitting the East Coast in October, Gray said. The long-term average is 15 percent. He said there is a 9 percent chance of a major hurricane doing so. The long-term average is 6 percent.
Gray has said that the nation has entered a new era of far greater hurricane destruction than was seen in the past. "The United States has been very lucky over the past four decades in witnessing few major hurricanes making landfall compared with earlier decades, while at the same time, we have seen large coastal population growth," he said.
This is the 20th year Gray and his team have issued seasonal hurricane forecasts.
With two months left in the season, the National Weather Service has Hurricane Kate and Tropical Storm Larry on its radar. Neither is expected to affect the Virgin Islands.
A tropical wave was located about 900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles on Thursday, but development was not expected because of unfavorable upper-level winds.
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