foremost forecaster has lowered his forecast for hurricanes for the
remainder of 2002 — the second time he’s done so in recent months.
In early April, William Gray of Colorado State University
predicted that the year would see 12 named storms — including
seven hurricanes, three of them major. On May 31st, he reduced the
forecast to eleven named storms — including six hurricanes, two of
Yesterday, he reduced his forecast to nine named storms, four of
them hurricanes and one of them a major hurricane.
Gray says rapidly changing conditions in the Atlantic Ocean
between April and July have created an atmosphere less conducive to
hurricane formation. He also credits a strengthening El Nino with
reducing storm activity. El Nino — a mass of warm water in the
equatorial Pacific — tends to inhibit hurricane formation.
Gray warns that the reduced forecast doesn’t ensure there won’t
be significant hurricane-spawned destruction this year.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew was the only major storm in a very
inactive year, but caused extensive damage in South Florida and