Here in the hurricane zone, we can take a little comfort in the forecast that The Weather Channel has issued for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
The preseason forecast calls for “below-average” storm activity: 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale).
That’s below the long-term average from 1950-2011 (12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes) and below the averages for the current active era from 1995-2011 (15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes).
The Weather Channel attributes this to much cooler North Atlantic ocean temperatures and a trend towards El Nino conditions.
Of course it’s just a forecast and not set in stone. But we can be optimistic about a less-active hurricane season this year.