Published: 2014-11-25 18:56:00
Updated: 2014-11-26 05:17:08
Posted November 25, 2014
Updated November 26, 2014
By Nate Johnson, WRAL meteorologist
While we’re polishing off the last of our Thanksgiving leftovers this weekend, we will be polishing off something else: The 2014 hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.
And in the spirit of the holiday, we can be thankful it was quiet – mostly.
North Carolina bore the brunt of what the season had to bring when Hurricane Arthur raked across the Outer Banks right before the Independence Day holiday weekend. In spite of some late strengthening, Arthur’s impacts were not as severe as they could have been for a hurricane of its strength, and most holiday plans went forward.
Aside from Arthur, the season was generally quiet, consistent with most of the outlooks from NOAA and elsewhere, including the Colorado State University team and researchers from North Carolina State University calling for a quieter-than-normal season.
NOAA issued its primary outlook in May, calling for a total of eight to 13 named storms, and the August update revised that forecast down one to seven to 12 storms. The final tally was eight. Six of those storms became hurricanes, and two of those made major hurricane status, meeting the forecasts in those categories, as well. Most storms formed and remained well out to sea, with Gonzalo’s direct hit on Bermuda a notable exception.
“A combination of atmospheric conditions acted to suppress the Atlantic hurricane season, including very strong vertical wind shear, combined with increased atmospheric stability, stronger sinking motion and drier air across the tropical Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Also, the West African monsoon was near to below average, making it more difficult for African easterly waves to develop.”
The season added to the streak without a major hurricane landfall in the continental United States, now well in excess of 3,300 days – a record-long streak since 1900. Barring anything unusual this winter or spring, the 2015 hurricane season will open with that streak in excess of 3,500 days.