Updating the 2014 Hurricane Season Predictions

By Vernon Trollinger, September 8, 2014, Hurricane Prep

Hurricane season? What hurricane season?

NOAA May Prediction NOAA Revised Prediction
Number of named storms (winds 39 mph+) 8-13 7-12
Storms becoming hurricanes (winds 74 mph+) 3-6 3-6
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3, 4 or 5, winds 111 mph+) 1 to 2 0-2

While the eastern Pacific has seen 14 hurricanes, the Atlantic has seen few: only three hurricanes, one tropical storm, and one tropical depression. Not surprisingly, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s revised hurricane prediction reduces the expected number of hurricanes even further, and even that update is issued with a 70% probability.

So, what’s happening?

Ice Bucket

Updating the 2014 Hurricane Season Predictions

Image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center. (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/)

In a way, it almost as if the Atlantic Hurricane Season took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and has run off to find a warm towel.

Warm water and dry, calm air is what fuels hurricanes. So far this season, there hasn’t been much of either. Sea surface temperatures (SST) have remained below normal across the Tropical Atlantic. In fact, they are exceptionally cool compared to other tropical SST‘s, such as the eastern Pacific which are warmer by 1 degree C or more. That’s enough of a difference in a critical temperature range where it’s either warm enough for water to evaporate and forms clouds or not.

Other factors discouraging storm formation are vertical wind shear, stable atmospheric conditions (not much vertical movement due to heat). Strong West African monsoons are thought to produce easterly atmospheric waves that spark hurricane systems. However, this year the monsoons are weak.

Adding to the chilling effect of cold water is the 60-65% probability of a weak El Niño expected to emerge by October. El Niños are caused by warm waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific and produce global weather effects. One of these is increased wind shear off the West African coast. These kind of wind shears make storm formation more difficult.

It’s Still Hurricane Season

While the likely hood of a hurricane forming, developing, and landing in the US seems low, it is a possibility. Hurricane Cristobal’s track as a Level 1 hurricane would have taken it up the length of the US east coast had it but traveled 600 miles westward. Make no mistake: the threat is still out there, and it’s still important to be prepared.

Keep you and your family tuned in and informed through the Bounce Energy Hurricane Prep Center for the latest hurricane information. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for smartphone alerts and get all the other important news about what’s happening in your area when a hurricane strikes.

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