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Researchers predict quieter-than-normal Atlantic hurricane season

Posted April 10

Colorado State University forecasters expect a quieter-than-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic basin in 2014.

Their forecast calls for nine named tropical storms with maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph, three hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph and one major hurricane with winds of at least 111 mph. These numbers are well below the 1981-2010 averages of 12, 6.5, and two, respectively.

One key factor in the forecast is the expected development of an El Niño, or warming in the waters in the equatorial Pacific off the west coast of South America. Dr. Philip Klotzbach, the lead author on the forecast, told the National Tropical Weather Conference.

"I am aggressive in expecting a moderate-to-strong El Niño to develop this year," he said.

El Niño conditions produce stronger wind shear across the Atlantic, which makes it more difficult for hurricanes to form and strengthen.

Dr. Klotzbach and his forecast partner, Dr. William Gray, also noted a connection between the overall weather pattern in the northern Atlantic that has led to a cooler-than-normal finish to the winter along the east coast and changes in the temperature and salinity circulations in the Atlantic.

The resulting persistent northerly winds in the eastern Atlantic have caused sea-surface temperatures to run cooler than normal; although, sea-surface temperatures are warmer-than-normal in the western Atlantic, including off the southeastern coast of the United States.

The Colorado State forecast group also provides probabilistic forecasts of land-falling storms.

The forecast calls for a 35 percent chance of a landfall along the US coast with a 20 percent chance of a storm affecting the East Coast, specifically.

Klotzbach and Gray's forecast includes an 18 percent chance of a hurricane affecting North Carolina, including not only a direct landfall but storm remnants moving over the state. These remnants can produce heavy rain and flooding, especially in the mountainous areas.

While the overall forecast is for a queiter-than-normal season, Klotzbach warned that it "only takes one storm" to cause major problems.

Citing Gray's forecast for a single major hurricane in 1992, "that one major hurricane was Andrew, and we all remember that one. Just because we are forecasting a quiet season doesn't mean people shouldn't prepare."

43 Comments

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  • heelsgirl05 Apr 11, 10:43 a.m.

    that means it is going to be very busy

  • bluecharger Apr 11, 9:34 a.m.

    Its down right funny that they keep coming out with this nonsense every year, yet every year... View More

    — Posted by Jimm57

    Oh I'm stocking up on Van Camp's and batteries, believe that!

  • kbird Apr 11, 9:33 a.m.

    So we should prepare for the big one!

  • LetsBeFair Apr 10, 6:21 p.m.

    With these predictions, watch out, here comes the big one! they are never correct.

  • areyououtofyourmind Apr 10, 4:17 p.m.

    I hope they're right. In years past, however, the gambling man would beat the house by betting opposite the experts!

  • heard-it-all-before Apr 10, 4:12 p.m.

    oh boy look out... every other time we have a quiet season they tell us it'll be the end of the world with 47 mega storms. quiet season = hit the deck!!

  • jmcdow2792 Apr 10, 4:10 p.m.

    We know what the weather is going to do, just not when. I don't understand why we don't prepare for the eventual devastation. Human nature I suppose.

  • hi_i_am_wade Apr 10, 3:56 p.m.

    What! A prediction that is "quieter than normal"! Wow! But I think Dr. Gray is right this year.

    The number of named storms does not equal an active year. More storms are named now because of better technology. Look at the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index.

    The Indian ocean is cooler than normal. That means less Indian typhoons, which means less African waves, which mean less Cape Verde hurricanes. Add to that a cooler than normal eastern Atlantic which also mean fewer Cape Verde hurricanes.

    But the western Atlantic is warmer than normal. This means a greater chance of a hurricane forming closer to land. The 1950's had multiple Cat-3 hurricane strikes in New England. Hazel was 1954, the only known Cat-4 to make landfall in North Carolina. Don't rule a repeat of those out this year. Especially since this is the longest drought of Cat-3+ hurricanes on the US in recorded history.

  • Just Once Apr 10, 3:46 p.m.

    yeah - I think that means we need to stock up and make sure the generator is working reeeeeel good...

  • mep Apr 10, 3:38 p.m.

    Researchers predict quieter-than-normal Atlantic hurricane season... but but, the global warming experts predicted storms would be worse and more frequent..... could they be wrong?.... again.

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