October 2, 2005--Posted at 11:15 PM CST
JONESBORO--It has been an unprecedented year with 18 named storms so far. With a little under two months remaining in hurricane season, most are hoping that the worst is over. But one of the nations top tropical forecasters said today that more storms are on the way.
The last to make landfall was Rita, and now we have Tropical Storm Stan in the Gulf drenching Mexico. Stan will not be the last says Dr. William Gray of Colorado State. Gray and his team of researchers predicted today that October will continue the trend of above average tropical activity.
Gray has been forecasting seasonal hurricane activity for years with remarkable accuracy.
Chad Watson, Chief Meteorologist for K8 says, "Anymore storms that we start to talk about is a big concern for the Gulf Coast and the rest of us. It is something that we are going to have to watch very, very closely. And if Dr. Grays predictions are right, it doesn't look like it is going to turn out to good."
Every year the list of named storms is long at 21. We have had 18 so far this year. That leaves Tammy, Vince and Wilma. If Wilma is used, we would have not named that many storms since 1933 when 21 tropical storms developed in the Atlantic basin.
Watson says, "Looking back through climatology we look at trends. And to me this is what we call a cyclic trend. They swing up for a couple of years then they swing back down. I think right now we might be peaking in one of those times when we have a very active year."
"And I think that might continue for the next year or so, but then I would not be surprised to see that number quell and go back to a more average number of storms. But like they say only time will tell," Watson continued.
This hurricane season had the busiest start ever with four named storms by July 5. Sea surface temperatures fueled Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Right now, those conditions remain favorable for more storms to develop.