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CCU study predicts normal, above normal hurricane season

Streets were partially flooded on Waccamaw Drive in Garden City Beach in 2014 as heavy rains from Hurricane Arthur combined with the high tide caused ponding on streets in the area. The group HUGO, which is associated with CCU, predicted an active hurricane season in 2016 with none, however, landing on the East Coast.
Streets were partially flooded on Waccamaw Drive in Garden City Beach in 2014 as heavy rains from Hurricane Arthur combined with the high tide caused ponding on streets in the area. The group HUGO, which is associated with CCU, predicted an active hurricane season in 2016 with none, however, landing on the East Coast. File photo

A program at CCU anticipates a more active hurricane than last year, calling for a “near to above normal” season, according to its extended range forecast for the North Atlantic calculated in mid-April.

HUGO, or the Hurricane Genesis & Outlook, predicts that there will be a range of 11 to 15 (with 13 most likely) named tropical storms, with from six to 10 (with seven most likely) becoming hurricanes and two to five (with three most likely) becoming major hurricanes during the 2016 season, which runs June 1 to Nov. 30. HUGO released the prediction Friday.

The National Weather Service releases its own predictions on the season at the end of May and a meteorologist in the Wilmington, N.C., office Friday said he was unfamiliar with the prediction.

However, the most probable scenario for landfalls, according to the April study, is that no hurricanes will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast and that one hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast during the 2016 season. The second most likely scenario is that one hurricane will make landfall on the East Coast and that two hurricanes will make landfall on the Gulf Coast. The third most likely possibility is that two hurricanes will make landfall on the East Coast and no hurricanes will make landfall on the Gulf Coast.

Last year’s HUGO outlook forecast of a “below normal” season was highly accurate. The 2015 outlook correctly forecast a most likely scenario that no hurricanes would make landfall on either the East or Gulf coasts. Last year’s outlook also accurately forecast the number of hurricanes at four.

Also, because the HUGO model system provides specific data on probable storm surge and inundation as a hurricane approaches, including time, location and statistical representations of expected water depth along the coastline, it has special relevance for emergency management officials in their logistical planning in the event of evacuations.

About the Hurricane Genesis & Outlook

The HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program is a unique hurricane model system developed by scientists at Coastal Carolina University and unveiled in 2013. The model differs from most other hurricane prediction instruments in that it offers hurricane number landfall probability information. In addition to the seasonal outlook, the model system predicts the track and intensity as well as data on the surge, inundation and flooding potential of any incoming hurricane five days away from landfall.

The HUGO hurricane seasonal outlook model is based on calculations of 22 climatological factors encompassing oceanic, atmospheric and shoreline activity. The model also considers detailed statistical data from previous Atlantic hurricanes going back to 1950, a methodology that has produced highly accurate track predictions in hind-casting tests conducted by the team at CCU. The HUGO team has made a significant advance in computing a key factor in advance of an upcoming season, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index, which calculates the kinetic energy of storms based on the summation of all tropical storm wind values, observed over an entire hurricane season.

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