Here's Steve's post from Storm2K:
Here's mine. Sorry it's so long.
I have read several different forecasts this year including WRC, Gary Gray, Iwx, Bastardi's prelim, CSU and Hurricane Alley. Of those 6, I only pay nominal attention to WRC's forecast because I don't put a lot of stock into what they say, but it's worthwhile to browse through when bored. Same goes for Gary Gray and Millennium Weather. Of the other 4, all arrive at their analogs in different fashions. Iwx went with 53, 61, 66, 80, 95. Hurricane Alley (based on 30 climate predictors) came up with 55, 72, 85, 88, 90, 95, and 2002. Bastardi (though his forecast isn't coming out until June 20th or so – Landfall Intensity Forecast based on the July-October season dealt with there) hinted at 44, 66, 78 and 95 (though he's not etched in stone yet). Dr. William Gray and the CSU forecast team utilized 58, 61, 80 and 2001.
Links to the sites noted:
Dr. Gray's April Forecast
Independent wx 2004 forecast
Weather Research Center 2004 Forecast
Hurricane Alley's 2004 Forecast
Millennium Weather 2004 Forecast
As you can see, those are pretty divergent years primarily because they come from divergent methodologies. You can check their respective sites and forecasts to see what predictors they use to come up with their analogs. Joe B. likes to use water temperature profiles and certain temperature and moisture predictors in the CONUS, but he doesn't divulge all of what goes into his forecast. He carries some additional weight because his landfall intensity forecasts have been fairly good, and in some aspects, excellent.
The seasons that cross between the 4 sets of analogs are 1961 (twice), 1966 (twice), 1980 (twice), and 1995 (3x). A study of tracks from those years yields conflicting signals. 3 of the years featured central or north Texas hits, 2 featured N FL hits, and 3 featured Canadian Maritime hits. Now I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I don't believe that analog year tracks are in any way, shape or form indicative of hits in an upcoming season. They can provide a general idea as to what we might expect under similar conditions, but the tracks themselves are not apt to repeat. Some may get close, but 150 miles either way could be the difference between a Louisiana vs. Florida hit, North Carolina vs. Delaware hit or a New Jersey vs. a Connecticut hit.
A great thing about the Internet is that you can pull something up that you don't have to research yourself anymore. Dr. Gray, Iwx, NOAA, NCEP and others take care of some of that work for you. They give a good idea as to potential ENSO conditions, QBO, NAO, SOI, SLP, wind directions at certain heights, etc. So what I try to throw together borrows heavily from what they've already provided.
One of the primary factors this year is the uncertainty of ENSO conditions. I believe Iwx has the best handle and presentation on it, but no one truly knows. It is my opinion that unanticipated volcanic activity is always possible and represents one of several proverbial jokers or wildcards – and one of the most important. Primarily neutral ENSO conditions seem inevitable for the near-term, but we really don't know for sure. Other factors such as the ATHC and QBO seem to point to a higher number of storms, slightly southerly tracks for those originating in the Atlantic and the potential for at least a slightly more than normal number of Intense Hurricanes (3's, 4's and/or 5's) as well as Intense Hurricane Days.
Having watched Joe B for 4 or 5 years has taught me to pay attention to water temperature profiles and sea surface temperature anomalies. These are ever changing, but as of May 26, 2004, above average water is most prevalent along the NC & VA coasts. We know from past years that this invites a very strong ridge off and along the SE Coast of the United States. This often provides a blocking mechanism for storms and/or waves moving westward south of 20N. Of additional note is that the water has reversed itself from April off the FL Panhandle from what we saw in April. Compared to 2003 which had the warm water anomalies further north, we'll have to see if we can draw any future inferences based on this water temperature profile and what tracks waves and storms take when interacting with ridging off the SE Coast and the mean ridge position relative to where any given storm is when approaching.
Most of the forecasters mentioned above along with NOAA are calling for an above average year. WRC, with 7 named storms and only 3 hurricanes predicted, seems to have an extremely low bias in number of storms. Therefore, I'll stay with the flow and guess that we'll see about 13 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 3 Intense Hurricanes.
Independent Wx, as noted in prior posts, did some research last year that showed that after active Gulf years (I believe out of the last 50 or 60 years) such as 2002, the chances for more than 3 named storms in the Gulf in the following year was pretty remote. If memory serves me correctly, only 1 year had 3 storms following a year with 6 or more named storms in the Gulf, a couple had 2, but most of the rest had either 1 or 0. This didn't hold true for last season as 2002's 6-storm Gulf season was followed by 2003's 5 named storm and TD #7 season. Based on everything I'm looking at, it looks as though any trend toward a quiet Gulf year will be again interrupted in 2004. Indeed, most of the forecasters mentioned at the top have certain areas of the Gulf as real hotspots, including WRC. It should also be noted here that Joe Bastardi has clued in that he believes the most intense storm to make landfall this year will be along the US Gulf of Mexico coast. Factoring in some of the analog years seems to indicate a better than average chance for a strong hit on Texas and/or NW Florida.
Landfall forecast areas:
Brownsville, TX to Lafayette, LA = 2 named storm hits and potentially a strong to major hurricane hit.
Lafayette, LA to Pascagoula, MS = 1-2 hits, most likely weaker systems (e.g. Tropical Storms)
MS/AL line to Cedar Key, FL = 2 named storm hits with the potential for a strong to intense storm between Panama City Beach, FL and Mobile Bay, AL. It should be noted that areas north of there in Southern Georgia are currently experiencing drought conditions. One of the ways out of droughts is through the influx of tropical moisture. However, the drought conditions there are not considered severe at this time.
West Coast of Florida south of Cedar Key = potential for 1 tropical storm or weaker (Cat 1) Hurricane. No definite hit predicted.
FL Keys = Impossible to predict. Based on the NHC's probability tables for active storms (a storm passes within 65 miles of a specific area), one would expect the keys to see a brush by.
Homestead, FL to Duval County, FL = Possible impact from a hurricane cutting west beneath anticipated ridging off the SE Coast. No specific hits predicted.
GA & SC Coasts = No hits predicted. Possible impacts from Gulf systems coming up from the South.
NC Coast – You can never discount coastal North Carolina as it, along with FL and SE LA seems to be at least brushed every year by a system. I don't see any early direct hits but depending on the evolution of the late summer to early fall, it's possible that we could see some coastal impact on the Outer Banks. I do expect there will be several fish spinners during 'low tide" of the Atlantic Ridge. This will most likely provide good surfing at different points during the hurricane season.
Virginia Coast to Delmarva Peninsula = No anticipated landfalls. Possible impact from storms coming up from the SW.
New Jersey = No anticipated landfalls.
Long Island through coastal Maine = Potential late season impact if the warm waters off the NC Coast remain intact for most of the summer. Impact could be from phasing later in the season or from a hurricane curving out to sea and clipping the Cape in MA.
Canadian Maritimes = 2 anticipated landfalls. Because of late season blocks, it's possible that any system off the east coast of the United States will move N or NNE on its way to distribute heat from the tropics to the north. Bear in mind that the Maritimes extend east to 53W and provide an easy target for a north moving or late curving storm.
This is the hurricane season as I understand it today. It's a bunch of guesswork factored in with the research from people I trust. Last year's landfall predictions were uncanny. In my wildest dreams, I didn't anticipate it being as good as it was. Luck will run out on me, and it might as well be this year. If it's worth anything, print it out on soft paper and save it for an emergency .
2005 Forecast: 14/7/4
"If your topic ain't tropic, your post will be toast"