Relatively Mild Hurricane Season Predicted
Forecasters at Colorado State University (CSU) expect fewer storms than usual in the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season because of cooler temperatures and other conditions in the Atlantic. The forecasters predicted 10 named storms, with four expected to reach hurricane force and two becoming major storms carrying winds of at least 111 miles per hour. CSU said there was a 42 percent chance that at least one major hurricane would hit the U.S. According to CSU, the median is 12 named storms and 6.5 hurricanes, including two major storms. Over the last five years, CSU’s forecasts have overestimated the season by an average of 2.4 hurricanes.
The National Hurricane Center is scheduled to release its forecast by the end of May. Last year’s season was more active than usual, with 19 named storms, including seven hurricanes and four major storms. Tornadoes are another major weather risk. The Insurance Information Institute reports that the $26 billion in insured damages from thunderstorms, including tornadoes, set a new record in 2011 and that the number of tornadoes so far this year is greater than last year. Steven Weisbart, chief economist at the institute, said that an average of 43 percent of insured losses over the last 20 years resulted from hurricanes and tropical storms while 32 percent resulted from thunderstorms. Last year 72 percent of insured losses were attributed to thunderstorms while only 15 percent was attributed to hurricanes and tropical storms.