After an unexpectedly tame 2013 hurricane season, WeatherBug is forecasting the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season to be average-to-below-average in terms of storm activity. The season starts June 1 through November 30 and includes the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Here are our predictions for the 2014 season:
- Tropical Storm Outlook: We predict that we’ll see 8-12 named storms. By comparison, the years from 1981 to 2010 averaged 12 named storms. More recently, the years from 1995-2012 have been more active, averaging about 15 named storms.
- Hurricane Forecast: 3-5 of these storms have potential to become hurricanes with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Only one to three of those may become strong enough to be considered a “major” Category 3 hurricane with winds in excess of 110 mph. In comparison, 1981 to 2010 averaged about six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Seasons from 1995-2012 showed increased activity, averaging about eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes per year.
- U.S. Landfall Threat: Our Meteorologists are predicting a below-average potential for hurricane landfall in the U.S. However, it only takes one landfall to destroy lives and livelihoods: In 2011, Hurricane Irene was the only hurricane that reached the U.S., yet killed 56 and caused more than $16 billion in damages. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy directly claimed nearly 70 lives in the U.S. and caused $65 billion in damages.
Why the average to below-average outlook? Senior WeatherBug Meteorologist John Bateman explains, “For nearly two decades, the Atlantic Basin has been in a phase that has favored an uptick in the number and strength of tropical systems. Despite this, the Pacific Ocean phenomenon called the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is forecast to have an El-Niño pattern this summer and fall. This 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-Niño pattern tends to counteract the above-normal phase that has been in place since the mid-1990s.”
Find out how hurricanes form:
Remember, it’s not the number of hurricanes that is important as a single hurricane can bring devastation to a whole region, causing extreme financial burden and tragic loss of life — example, Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
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-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team