Monday, August 31, 2009

Ranking the 2009 Hurricane Season

As described in Oil 101, hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends November 30.  The oil market watches its progression closely as Atlantic hurricanes can shut in and damage oil production and refining infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico.  Most oil supply and demand forecasting models assume an "average" hurricane season until about this time when they begin to be rapidly recalibrated.

At the half-way point of the 2009 season it is time to take stock.  So far in 2009 we have only seen one hurricane (Bill) and four named tropical storms.  At this stage in 2008 we had already seen four hurricanes (Bertha, Dolly, Gustav and Hanna).  By this time in record setting 2005, we had witnessed five hurricanes (Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Irene, and Katrina).

Using a different method of putting the 2009 hurricane season in perspective, following is a chart of google searches for the word "hurricane" over the past six years.  The chart correlates well with the number and severity of hurricanes.

Chart based on search data from Google.
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