WEATHER RESEARCH CENTER

5104 Caroline Houston, Texas 77004 Phone: 713-529-3076 Fax: 713-528-3538 E-mail: wrc@wxresearch.org

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release

March 24, 2004

For Information Contact: Liz Murphy 713-529-3076

 

The 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season could be a busy year for the Gulf of Mexico especially along the central Texas coast!

Houston – Meteorologist Jill F. Hasling of Houston based Weather Research Center suggests that all coastal residents, especially Texans, prepare for what could be an active Texas hurricane season in 2004. WRC’s OCSI® model indicates the section of the coast with the highest probability of tropical storm or hurricane making landfall in 2004 is the West Coast of Florida with a 70% chance. However, Texas has the second highest risk with a 60% chance of experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane.

"When you look at the significant storms that have made landfall on the Texas coast during this phase of the OCSI, an interesting fact emerges," according to Ms. Hasling. The ominous fact that emerges is that the two historical hurricanes, which lead to the destruction of Indianola, Texas 1875 and 1886 took place during the 2004 phase of the OCSI. Two other years with strong Texas hurricanes in this phase are 1909 and 1941. That makes 4 out of 10 years in this phase with strong hurricanes over the central Texas Coast. In addition, earlier years included in this phase of the OCSI produced hurricanes or storms that caused flooding close to Indianola in 1818 and 1851.

The 2004 Hurricane season could be a very active year for Texas with 6 out of the 10 years in the 2004 phase having storms, all of which made landfall on the Texas Coast. "Let’s hope that we have a year like the other 4 years in the phase where the storms re-curve north before they make it to Texas," says meteorologist Jill Hasling.

The forecast of the probability of landfall from a tropical storm or hurricane on different sections of the United States coast for the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season is given in the following table.

 

2004 OCSI FORECAST FOR THE ATLANTIC

COAST OCSI CLIMATOLOGY

Mexico 50% 40%

Texas 60% 51%

Louisiana to Alabama 40% 59%

West Florida 70% 71%

East Florida 30% 41%

Georgia to N. Carolina 40% 56%

East Coast of US 20% 36%

Gulf Oil Blocks 70% 88%

According to the OCSI, the 2004 season could be long. There is a chance of a tropical storm or hurricane as early as May and June and the season could last through December.

Each year WRC meteorologists make secondary predictions so this model can be compared with other seasonal predictions. This year the OCSI predicts that there will be 7 named storms with 4 of these storms intensifying into hurricanes. Other parameters for the season are given in the following table.

Secondary Prediction:

Number of Storms : 7

Number of Hurricanes: 4

Number of Hurricane Days: 16

Number of Storm Days: 55

US Landfalls: 3

Cat 3 or Higher Storms: 60%

 

The Orbital Cyclone Strike Index [OCSI] has been used by Hasling and Freeman since 1985 to make an outlook for the section of the US coast which has the highest risk of storm landfall. Further research indicates that Weather Research Center’s [WRC’s] Orbital Cyclone Strike Index’s [OCSI] secondary prediction elements verify better over the past twenty years than Colorado State University’s Bill Gray’s Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity predictions. WRC’s secondary prediction elements consist of the number of named storms in the Atlantic Basin, number of hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin and number of hurricane days and the number of storm days.

The OCSI model is based on the premise that there are orbital influences that are reflected in the global circulation pattern on the sun and subsequently the global circulation pattern of the earth. The sun's orbit influences the sun spot cycle. Using this solar cycle to make an index, hurricane climatology has been summarized into an index called the OCSI. This index has been used since 1985 to make annual forecasts of which section of North America has the highest risk of experiencing a tropical storm or

hurricane. In addition to its ongoing research, the Center also provides storm and

hurricane information via the Internet through WRC Storm Navigator®. This service helps people navigate weather information on the Internet as well as providing detailed storm updates and related information. All of the Center's projections including past predictions can be found on the Internet, http://www.wxresearch.com/outlook .

Ms. Hasling and Dr. Freeman are both Fellows and Certified Consulting Meteorologist from the American Meteorological Society as well as members of the National Council of Industrial Meteorologist.

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