Source: WSI news release

WSI Corp.'s updated 2009 hurricane season forecast now calls for 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two intense hurricanes (category 3 or greater).

These forecast numbers are lower than those from the WSI forecast issued in December (13 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three intense hurricanes) due to a continuation of relatively cool tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures and a waning of the recent La Nina event. The 2009 forecast numbers are quite close to the long-term (1950-2008) average of 9.8 named storms, 6.0 hurricanes, and 2.5 intense hurricanes).

The 2009 WSI tropical forecast comes on the heels of a very successful 2008 forecast. The WSI December forecast values of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three intense hurricanes were slightly smaller than the final observed 2008 values of 16/8/5. The subsequent updates improved the forecast further, as the April 2008 updated forecast values of 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and four intense hurricanes were the most accurate amongst the publicly-available forecasts issued last spring.

"Ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are cooler, relative to normal, than at any time since 1994," said WSI seasonal forecaster Dr. Todd Crawford. "Further, the recent La Nina event has now ended, and we expect normal or even slightly above-normal wind shear in the tropical Atlantic this season. Neither the cooler tropical Atlantic nor the neutral wind shear conditions are enabling for tropical activity this year. We have reduced our forecast numbers to adapt to the latest information, and future changes to our forecast are more likely to be towards smaller numbers than larger numbers."

Energy and agricultural traders, insurance professionals and risk managers look to WSI for accurate, timely weather information around the clock and across the globe. The next full seasonal forecast package, which will include forecasts for summer temperatures in both the US and Europe, will be issued on May 27. The next update on the 2009 hurricane season will be issued on May 26.