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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, May 26, 2024


Nov. 20, 2001 – With 10 days left until the 2001 hurricane season officially ends on Nov. 30, Colorado State University professor William Gray sent out his annual assessment of his predictions early Tuesday morning.
In his June and August predictions Gray and his team of scientists predicted a dozen named storms, with seven of them becoming hurricanes. Three were expected to be intense with winds 110 miles per hour or greater.
So far this year, 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and four intense hurricanes formed.
Gray claimed his predictions were on target. In 2000, he came about as close as he did this year.
He predicted 11 named storms, seven hurricanes and three intense storms. In fact, Mother Nature dished up about the same amount as this year with 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and three intense hurricanes.
An average year sees 9.3 named storms, 5.8 hurricanes and 2.2 intense hurricanes.
Fortunately, the territory was spared any hurricanes or tropical storms this season. The closest brush came when Tropical Storm Iris formed from Tropical Depression 11 as it passed about 100 miles south of the Virgin Islands on Oct. 5. Other depressions or storms sent rain across the territory as they made their way through the Caribbean.
While this hurricane season saw similar numbers of storms as it did last year, it was unusual in one way. While storms usually start wending their way across the Atlantic in late July and August, most of activity happened this year in September through November. The first hurricane did not form until Sept. 8, which Gray said was the latest forming hurricane since 1984.
He attributed this to "high Atlantic basin surface pressure and stronger than usual West Atlantic subsidence and dryness."
Gray also said that October and November was one of the most active periods in the last 50 years. Those months saw four hurricanes – two of them major. Additionally, two hurricanes happened at the same time in November, the first time since 1932.
Several years ago, Gray predicted that a period of intense storm activity would continue.
He said that the years 1995 to 2001 – a time that saw the territory pummeled by hurricanes, including 1995's destructive Hurricane Marilyn, were the seven most active consecutive years on record. Ninety-three named storms developed. Fifty-seven of them escalated into hurricanes and 27 of those were considered major hurricanes.
"The upturn we've seen in Atlantic hurricanes and activity the last seven years has been remarkable," he said in a news release.
He said Tuesday he expects it to continue for two or three more decades.
Due to the large increase in populations along the coast in the Caribbean and United States, he expects to see unprecedented destruction from hurricanes.
This was the 18th year Gray and his team predicted hurricane activity. He said they are continuing to develop a better understanding of hurricanes through the insights derived from making the forecasts.
"We feel our ongoing forecast research will allow us to continue to improve our predictive skill," Gray said.
Gray will make his first prediction for the 2002 season in December, with updates in April, June and August.

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