Beaufort's odds are in for hurricane season 2011: 7.5% (update: 12 to 18 storms projected on the eve of the season)

A view of Hurricane Felix from the International Space Station in September 2007.

Update June 1: An article by WTOC notes that with the start of the hurricane season is officially set to get underway today, experts are expecting between 12 and 18 storms to develop. Of those storms, they later said, at least six could develop into hurricanes with at least 74 mph winds.

Read the article here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration too issued a report on the upcoming season, saying in it that coastal citizens might be forced to withstand three and six hurricanes of over 100 MPH winds throughout the summer. Scientists point to warmer ocean temperatures as the result of climate change as the primary cause for these estimations, which are notably higher than in years past.

You can check out their coverage here.

Update April 13: National guard units from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama all came to the lowcountry April 12 for natural disaster preparation drills case that 7.5% prediction proved accurate.

The full scale simulation that was conducted yesterday is to help prepare both troops and commanders for a large-scale evacuation event.

WTOC has a video clip showing some of the procedures, be sure to check it out here.

First Reporting: The 2011 Hurricane Season doesn't officially start until June 1st, but the media storm is here with Colorado State University's William Gray issuing the "2011 Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Forecast."

So what's in the tea leaves for the Lowcountry?

Well, an above-average season of tropical weather is expected with 16 named storms and five major storms forecast. The report also calls for an above-average 48% chance of a storm making landfall on the East Coast.

South Carolina is given a near twice-normal 28.3% chance of hurricane impact and 6.6% chance of a major storm's impact. Beaufort County is given a 7.5% chance of a named storm making landfall, a 4.9% chance of a hurricane, and a 37.8% chance of experiencing tropical storm force winds or more. 

“We expect that anomalously warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures combined with neutral tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures will contribute to an active season,” said Phil Klotzbach of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project. “We have reduced our forecast slightly from early December due to a combination of recent ocean warming in the eastern and central tropical Pacific and recent cooling in the tropical Atlantic.”

You can check out the full report here and get county-level forecast info here.

And, as always, take a ton of salt with forecasts; they will change a lot.

The last major hurricane to hit the Beaufort area was Category 4 Hugo in 1989. Oh, and if you're curious for the names of the 2011 season's storms, head here.

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