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Posted 05.18.05

MU Climatologist Concurs With NOAA Hurricane Frequency Forecast

COLUMBIA, MO -- This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its prediction that the 2005 hurricane season, beginning June 1, may produce three to five major storms. Tony Lupo, associate professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, agrees with the prediction, but places the chances of a repeat of last year's hurricane season, in which four major storms hit land in the continental United States, as very unlikely.

"The NOAA prediction is consistent with our previous predictions that the period between 2000 and 2020 would be more active than the previous two decades," Lupo said. "However, it is important to note that the prediction of a more active season does not necessarily mean that more storms will strike the United States. At this time, long-range prediction involves examining the current state of the climate and comparing this with past years in which similar conditions existed. We cannot predict when and where these predicted hurricanes will strike. We do know that the likelihood of four storms striking the United States again this year is almost non-existent.

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"Typically we expect nine or 10 named storms per year in the Atlantic with only one to three making landfall in or affecting the United States. The prediction of a more active season does not mean anyone should cancel their plans to visit Disney World."

Lupo has conducted extensive research on hurricane frequencies. Based on this research, he and his team anticipated increased hurricane activity in the period from 2000 to 2020. So far, data from 2000 to 2004, and predictions for 2005 agree with this assertion.

Lupo is an expert on global climate change and severe weather in the Midwest. He earned his doctoral degree from Purdue University in 1995 and has done research at Purdue, the State University of New York-Albany and MU. He is a fellow in the Royal Meteorological Society and a member of the American Meteorology Society.

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