'Ominous' Atlantic conditions could bring Katrina-like hurricane season

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, June 12 (ANI): The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season could be a replay of 2005-the year that spawned Hurricane Katrina.

Scientists have recorded warm ocean temperatures and weak winds in May, which are similar to those of May 2005-the most active and destructive Atlantic basin hurricane season in history.

Such patterns are "definitely ominous and foreboding," said Chris Hebert, lead hurricane forecaster for the private forecasting company ImpactWeather, based in Houston.

For instance, the similarities to 2005 means there's an increased risk of hurricane impact across the northern Caribbean islands, the Florida Peninsula, and the northeast Gulf Coast, from southeastern Louisiana to Florida, he said.

But still, there is no guarantee that 2010 will be the new 2005.

Meteorologists are also still stumped about "what made 2005 so special," noted Hebert.

"We don't fully understand why the 2005 hurricane season, with 28 named storms, was more than twice as active as a typical season," National Geographic News quoted Hebert as saying.

But studying past hurricane seasons with spring conditions similar to those of the current year "can reliably tell us if the upcoming season will be more or less active than normal," he said.

However, comparing two seasons alone is not a "perfect predictor," noted Hebert.

"There are other factors that can impact the number of named storms during the season, and these other factors are not always either fully understood or able to be reliably predicted months in advance," he said.

Water temperatures too are looking forebodingly similar to those of 2005, said Hebert.

Warm water is a crucial hurricane ingredient, and the waters in the tropical and eastern Atlantic were warmer in May than they've ever been in recorded history-about 0.9 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) above average.

In spring 2005, Atlantic temperatures were warmer than average too, by about 0.6 degree Fahrenheit (0.3 Celsius), according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Those warmer waters are strongly linked to calm wind conditions.

With few strong winds to stir up deep, cold waters, the ocean's surface-the part that matters to hurricanes-heats up, added Hebert. (ANI)

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