WeatherBug: Below-Normal Hurricane Season Expected
May 21, 2014
By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season, starting June 1, will be slightly below normal, says a team of WeatherBug tropical forecasters. Driving the forecast is an expected El Nino developing later this summer.
The forecast calls for eight to 12 named storms developing between June 1 and November 30 in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin. The basin consists of the Atlantic north of the equator, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. A tropical storm is named when a tropical system with a closed circulation has sustained winds exceeding 39 mph.
Of those named systems, three to five hurricanes with sustained winds exceeding 74 mph are predicted; with one to three of these hurricanes reaching major hurricane status of sustained winds exceeded 111 mph.
These forecast numbers are slightly below the 1981 to 2010 average count of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes and the elevated hurricane and tropical storm number seen in between 1995 and 2012.
Driving the forecast is the developing El Nino pattern. El Nino, an above-normal ocean water temperature pattern stretching along the Pacific equator waters west of South America, occurs every 5 to 8 years and affects global weather patterns.
"This [El Nino] pattern also affects the Atlantic Basin, and tends to have a strong correlation for decreasing the number of tropical storms and hurricanes that form, as well as suppressing the strength of these storms. Research shows this El Nino pattern tends to counteract the above-normal phase that has been in place since the mid-1990s," says WeatherBug Senior Meteorologist, John Bateman.
Forecasters at Colorado State University are also predicting a below-average season. The government doesn`t issue its official forecast until Thursday.
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