Forecasts "Near Normal" Hurricane Season; Uses Experimental
June 5, 2009
This past week marks the beginning of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane
season and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
forecasters are predicting it will most likely be a "near-normal"
one this year.
In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season,
which runs from June through November, the NOAA's National Weather
Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for a 50 percent probability
of a near-normal season, a 25 percent probability of an above-normal
season and a 25 percent probability of a below-normal season. Global
weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the 2009
hurricane season outlook than in recent years. Forecasters say there
is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which
four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major
hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).
Considering these near normal hurricane predictions, some experts
say the glass industry is prepared for what the season may bring.
"I think the glass industry has really stepped up to the plate
to provide products that are not only impact resistant, but also
have energy-efficient qualities," says Brian Evans, president
of CGI Windows in Miami.
New for the NOAA this year is an experimental Saffir-Simpson Hurricane
Wind Scale. In its current form, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale,
as applied to storms in the Atlantic and eastern North and Central
Pacific basins, includes storm surge ranges and flooding references.
On an experimental basis for the 2009 Tropical Cyclone Season, these
storm surge ranges and flooding references will be removed from
the definition/effects for each category (1-5).
According to the NOAA, the inclusion of storm surge information
is scientifically inaccurate because surge is a product of many
factors not considered in the scale. These include storm size and
forward speed, and bathymetry and characteristics of the coastline
in the landfall location. The NOAA says storm surge values for each
category are frequently incorrect.
While the NOAA is accepting comments on the experimental scale
until November 30 (CLICK
HERE for more information) changing the scale would have little
impact on companies producing hurricane glazing systems.
"Glazing industry regulations have always been based on the
presence and detrimental affects of windborne debris, so this change
will not affect the concept of the protection for windows and doors
as we use it today," says Julie Schimmelpenningh, global architectural
applications manager for Saflex, a unit of Solutia Inc. She adds
that while there may be windload and wind zone adjustments as the
NOAA gathers more data, she does not expect it would alter current
hurricane glazing system testing procedures and requirements.
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