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News Section: Environment



Hurricane Forecast: 8-12 Named Storms for 2014

Published Friday, May 30, 2014 12:02 am

Germantown, MD – After an unexpectedly tame 2013 season that saw 13 tropical cyclones but no hurricanes above a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the Meteorology Team at Earth Networks - WeatherBug is forecasting a 2014 Atlantic hurricane season with average-to-below-average storm activity.

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The season runs from June 1 to November 30 and includes the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Earth Networks - WeatherBug Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast includes the following predictions:

• Tropical Storm Outlook: The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season forecast is for 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: Three to five of these storms could 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: 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 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.”

Colorado State University predicted a below-average season, with nine named tropical storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will issue its outlook on May 22.

About the Earth Networks - WeatherBug Atlantic Hurricane Forecast
Every spring, the WeatherBug Meteorology team at Earth Networks evaluates historical and breaking weather information to forecast the likelihood and intensity of tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The team examines global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures and trends, the state of the El Niño - La Niña Southern Oscillation, various climate indices, and long-term computer forecast models.

Be Prepared, Stay Informed
Americans living near the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast must prepare now for the upcoming hurricane season. Visit the WeatherBug Hurricane Center to learn how to prepare.  Turn to the WeatherBug for the latest weather in your neighborhood, severe weather alerts, and 2014 hurricane season coverage. Get updates anywhere on Twitter at twitter.com/WeatherBug.

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