This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 23, 2006

Despite Slow Start, NOAA Predicts an Active Hurricane Season

On August 22nd, 2005, a tropical storm was developing near the Bahamas that eventually formed Hurricane Katrina, the 11th named storm and the fifth hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic season. By comparison, this year's tropical storm season in the Atlantic Ocean seems mild, with only three named storms and no hurricanes as of August 22nd. But according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we shouldn't be fooled by this year's slow start. NOAA adjusted its forecast downward in early August, but the agency is still calling for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA is projecting a total of 12 to 15 named storms, of which seven to nine will intensify to hurricanes, including three or four hurricanes rated at Category 3 or higher. See the NOAA press release.

The Atlantic may soon get its fourth named storm, as the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is currently tracking Tropical Depression 4, which is located near the Cape Verde islands and is expected to strengthen. Meanwhile, the Pacific Ocean has been extremely active this year: on August 22nd, the NHC was tracking Tropical Storm Ileana, the ninth named storm in the eastern Pacific, while the Central Pacific Hurricane Center was tracking Hurricane Ioke. And as of August 21st, China had reported 441 dead from Typhoon Saomai, the eighth typhoon to strike China this year. Typhoon Saomai struck mainland China as a Category 4 super typhoon, the strongest to hit China in 50 years. See the NHC and Central Pacific Hurricane Center Web sites and the news on Typhoon Saomai, posted on the China Meteorological Administration Web site.