The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, led by Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi has released its 2006 season forecast with three major hurricanes ready to impact on American tourism. An active hurricane season appears imminent, which could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy and the one in six Americans who live on the Eastern Seaboard or along the western Gulf of Mexico.
For the 2006 Hurricane Season-which traditionally runs from June 1 through November 30-Bastardi and his team are forecasting that six tropical cyclones will make landfall in the U.S. Five of these landfalling storms are likely to be hurricanes, with three being major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.
“The 2006 season will be a creeping threat,” said Bastardi. “Early in the season-June and July-the Texas Gulf Coast faces the highest likelihood of a hurricane strike, possibly putting Gulf energy production in the line of fire. As early as July, and through much of the rest of the season, the highest level of risk shifts to the Carolinas. From mid-August into early October, the window is open for hurricane strikes to spread northward to the more densely populated Northeast coast. At the very end of the season, southern Florida also faces significant hurricane risk.”
“There are few areas of the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico that will not be in the bull’s eye at some point this season,” said Ken Reeves, AccuWeather’s Director of Forecast Operations. Ironically, though, the region that was hammered the hardest last year-the central and eastern Gulf Coast-has one of the lower probabilities of receiving another major hurricane strike in 2006.”
Added Reeves, “This is not to say that hard-hit New Orleans has nothing to worry about. Because the city’s defenses have been so compromised by Hurricane Katrina, even a glancing blow from a hurricane elsewhere could spell trouble for the city.”