A new hurricane model program developed by researchers at South Carolina's Coastal Carolina University (CCU) is predicting at least one major hurricane landfall on the U.S. East Coast this season, The State reported on Tuesday (Aug. 13).
The computer model named Hurricane Genesis and Outlook (HUGO), after 1989’s devastating Category 4 storm, was just unveiled nearly two weeks ago. It predicts the number of tropical cyclones and provides a probability of where one will make landfall along the East Coast or Gulf Coast during the season.
CCU researchers said the model predicted two to four major hurricanes will form in the Atlantic basin, but only one will make landfall along the East Coast. Where on the East Coast they did not say.
“It will be busier than normal on the East Coast, with one, possibly two, major hurricanes likely to make landfall,” said Len Pietrafesa, a Burroughs and Chapin scholar at CCU and the lead researcher. “The Gulf Coast will not see as much action as usual in terms of hurricanes making landfall, according to our outlook.”
Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. William Gray, prominent hurricane forecasters on Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project team, said there was a 64 percent chance of a major hurricane landfall on the U.S. coast this season with a 40 percent chance of one hitting the East Coast in their updated outlook earlier this month.
The HUGO hurricane seasonal outlook model is based on calculations of 22 climate factors and statistical data from 1950 of previous Atlantic hurricanes.
The model uses 63 years of data on tropical systems, taking specific pathways of individual events into account. Then, it studies the climatic data during the life of those storms to determine the setup of each event. Eventually, it finds the closest match to the current conditions to draw up a forecast for current storm possibilities.