The annual prediction of the hurricane activity on the Atlantic/Gulf/Caribbean side of Mexico for 2011 by Dr Philip Klotzbach and Dr. William Gray (Colorado State University) was for a slightly more active season than in 2010. For 2011, they introduced some modifications to their predictive model, which now takes into account:
- Predictor 1. Gradient of sea surface temperatures (SST) in February-March between the Eastern Subtropical region of the Atlantic and the South Atlantic. This has a positive connection with hurricane activity.
- Predictor 2. Air pressure at sea level in March in the Subtropical Atlantic. This has a negative connection with hurricane activity.
- Predictor 3. Air pressure at sea level in February in the South-Eastern Pacific. This new variable has a positive connection with hurricane activity.
- Predictor 4. Forecast made in March from Central Europe for sea surface temperatures in September for the El Niño-3 region. This new predictor has a negative connection with hurricane activity.
In April, the prediction for the 2011 Atlantic/Caribbean hurricane season was for 16 tropical cyclones, including 7 tropical storms, 4 moderate hurricanes (Category 1 or 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale) and 5 strong hurricanes (C 3, 4 or 5).
This prediction proved to be quite good. In the event, there were actually 19 tropical cyclones, including 12 tropical storms, 4 moderate hurricanes (C1, C2) and 3 strong hurricanes (one C3 and two C4).
On the Pacific coast, the 2011 season saw 11 tropical cyclones including 1 tropical storm, 4 moderate hurricanes and 6 strong hurricanes. Fortunately, almost all these cyclones remained out at sea and only Hurricane Jova, which reached category 3 in early October, caused any significant damage on land (see Hurricane Jova smashes into Barra de Navidad and Melaque on Mexico’s Pacific Coast).
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