AccuWeather: 12 named storms this hurricane season
HOUSTON (Reuters) - The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season will be near average in the number of storms, but there is a higher risk of a destructive storm hitting the U.S. East Coast, AccuWeather.com predicted on Monday.
Joe Bastardi, AccuWeather's chief long-range and hurricane forecaster, said in an updated forecast he expects a total of 12 named storms in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.
Two or three of the named storms would likely affect energy production areas in the Gulf of Mexico, which produces 25 percent of U.S. domestic crude oil and 15 percent of domestic natural gas, Bastardi said.
"Every three years there's usually one major storm in the Gulf," Bastardi said in an interview in Houston.
A weakening La Nina weather anomaly in the Pacific Ocean and near-normal or below-normal water temperatures in most of the tropical breeding grounds of the Atlantic Ocean off the African Coast "will reduce the overall number of storms," Bastardi said.
"However, with warm waters near the north Atlantic coastline, storms may form closer to the coast, resulting in a higher-than-average storm threat on the East Coast, from the Carolinas to New England," he said.
In April, he said the 2008 season would be slightly above average, seeing 12 to 13 named storms, with up to four becoming hurricanes and with the center of the target area the U.S. Southeast coastline.
The revised forecast is still above the average of 10 storms each hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
Two or three storms will bring at least tropical storm force winds to the coastline between Florida and New England, including one or two that bring hurricane force winds, and one major hurricane, Bastardi said in his latest forecast.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston and Haitham Haddadin in New York; Editing by Christian Wiessner)