1997 ATLANTIC HURRICANE OUTLOOK - IS TEXAS AT RISK?
By: Jill F. Hasling, Director, Weather Research Center, Houston, Texas

According to research meteorologists Jill F. Hasling and Dr. John C. Freeman of Weather Research Center, the Texas coast risks experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane increases over the next several years. Since 1985, these meteorologists have been predicting which section of the United States coast line has the highest risk of experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane. There have only been two years out of the past twelve when a storm did not make landfall in the section of the coast with the highest risk and those years the coast line with the second highest risk experienced a storm.

The outlook for 1997 gives the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Alabama the highest risk with a 70 percent chance of landfall of a tropical storm or hurricane. The coast line of both Mexico and Texas have a 40 percent probability of experiencing a storm or hurricane. The chances for Texas increase in 1998 to 60 percent and in 1999 to 70 percent. Furthermore , in 1999 there is a chance for more than one storm to make landfall along the Texas coast.

PROBABILITY OF TEXAS STORMS 1997 - 2005

The last storms to affect Texas was in 1995, Tropical Storm Dean, July 28- August 2 and Tropical Storm Arelene June 18-21, 1993. The last time a hurricane made landfall in Texas was in 1989 when three hurricanes came ashore on the upper Texas coast; Hurricane Allison June 24-27; Hurricane Chantal Jul 30-Aug 3; and Hurricane Jerry October 12-16. Other storms of the eighties were 1987 Unnamed Tropical Storm August 9-17; 1986 Hurricane Bonnie June 23-28; 1983 Hurricane Alicia August 15-21.

The last major (winds greater than 115 mph) hurricane to make landfall in Texas was Hurricane Alicia in August 1983. Other significant storms were Hurricane Allen, August 1980, Hurricane Celia, August 1970, Hurricane Beulah, September 1967 and Hurricane Carla, September 1961.

The outlook calls for six to seven named storms in the Atlantic with four reaching hurricane intensity. There is a 30 percent chance of having over 10 storms again this year. This year could have storms as early as May and as late as November. The summary of the risk is as follows: Louisiana to Mississippi 70 percent probability; West Coast of Florida 60 percent; Georgia to North Carolina 50 percent; Texas and Mexico 40 percent and the East Coast of Florida and The Northeast coast of the United States 30 percent.

Every section of the United States has a chance of experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane each year. This outlook does not tell you that you will not experience a storm but tells you which section will most likely experience a storm.

Weather Research Center
3227 Audley St. Houston, Texas 77098
(713) 529-3076
Email- wrc@wxresearch.com