Long-range forecaster William Gray says early indications are the 1989 hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean will not be quite as bad as the one that caused heavy damage in the tropics last year.
But the Colorado State University meteorological professor told the closing session of the National Hurricane Conference in Miami Friday that a period of relatively calm hurricane activity during the last 20 years is ending."There will be more hurricane activity in the coming two or three decades than we've had in the past two decades," Gray said. "The number of named storms won't change much, but the number of intense storms will increase."
He said his official prediction for next year will not be made until the season begins June 1 because that is when he will have enough reliable data for his predictions.
He said based on the information that is available now, this year will not have as many named storms as last year, when there were 12, or 1985, when there were 11.
He said his best guess at this point is for eight or nine named storms of which maybe four will become hurricanes. He called for 20 hurricane days in which at least one storm in the Atlantic or Caribbean has winds of more than 74 mph.