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Earth NetworksSM, the owner of WeatherBug®, released its 2012 Atlantic hurricane season forecast. The WeatherBug meteorology team calls for a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin. The season, which generally runs from June 1 to November 30 every year, got off to an early start with the formation of the first named storm, tropical storm Alberto, on the northeast Florida coast this month. The Atlantic Hurricane Basin consists of the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Earth Networks’ WeatherBug predicts that the Atlantic hurricane season will see a total of 11 to 13 named storms form in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin. The 30-year average is about 12 storms. Six or seven of these storms could become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to become major hurricanes with possible winds in excess of 111 miles per hour. The long-term average is about six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The potential for a U.S. landfall appears to be near normal for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
What are the driving factors for the "near-normal" outlook? Earth Networks senior meteorologist, James Aman, explained, "The favorable La Niña conditions noted in 2011 have now ended, with neutral El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions expected this summer. A weak El Niño might develop by this autumn, which could be a slightly negative factor for the latter part of the hurricane season. This will tend to be balanced by the favorable phase of the long-term Atlantic multi-decade cycle. In addition, water temperatures in the Atlantic Basin are closer to normal, and are not as warm as they were for the above-normal season in 2011."