Currently, many people may be focused on Spring-break vacations and thinking about the start of summer being right around the corner. There are some experts who are focused on another thing — predicting Hurricane activity for the 2011 Hurricane season. The official start of the hurricane season is June 1st in the Atlantic Basin. This is just over six weeks away and the 2011 Hurricane predictions are in from the Colorado State University forecast team. While they slightly reduced their prediction from the one issued in December 2010, the forecast team is calling for an active season for 2011.

For the past twenty-eight years, the Colorado State University forecast team has issued predictions for hurricane activity utilizing a forecast scheme that relies on decades of historical data. The hurricane team’s forecast is based on the premise that certain ocean and atmospheric conditions – such as El Nino, sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, etc. – that preceded active or inactive hurricane seasons in the past can provide meaningful information about similar conditions that may occur in the current year. As one could imagine, it is not an exact science, but rather a best estimate of activity to be expected during the upcoming season.

The forecast predicts that hurricane activity in 2011 will be approximately 175% of the average season. Following are some bullet points of the prediction for a major hurricane making landfall on U.S. soil:

  • A 72% chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2011 (the long-term average probability is 52 percent);
  • A 48 % chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula (the long-term average is 31 percent);
  • A 47% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville (the long-term average is 30 percent); and
  • A 61% chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean (the long-term average is 42 percent).

Probabilities of tropical storm-force, hurricane-force and major hurricane-force winds occurring at specific locations along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts are listed on the Landfall Probability website. The site provides U.S. landfall probabilities for 11 regions and 205 individual counties along the U.S. coastline from Brownsville, Texas, to Eastport, Maine.

What these predictions mean for residents of Coastal regions of the United States in hurricane zones is that now is the time to begin to prepare. Steps should be taken to review policies to confirm coverage, discuss other available coverage with insurance agents/representatives, potentially photograph the condition of insured property before any event, conduct basic maintenance like tree trimming and debris removal, and obtain peace of mind knowing that proactive steps have been taken. In the meantime, stay tuned to this blog for periodic updates as the Colorado State University team and other experts issue additional discussions on the 2011 hurricane season.