"A combination of cooler seas and a quiet West African monsoon season made for a less active Atlantic hurricane season, giving the South and East Coasts of the United States one of their lengthiest reprieves in history from a major hurricane, forecasters said on Monday.
"This is the longest without a major hurricane hitting the U.S. since the Civil War era," said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground.
The Atlantic Basin, which includes the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, saw only eight named storms, including six hurricanes, two of which reached major Category 3 status, during the season that began June 1 and closes Nov. 30, according to an end of season summary by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The two major storms - considered to be Category 3 or above with winds hitting at least 111 mph (178 kph) - included Gonzalo, which pummeled Bermuda. The other Category 3, Edouard, never threatened land but was the first major storm to form in the Atlantic since superstorm Sandy in 2012. Wilma in 2005 was the last major hurricane to make U.S. landfall. Sandy was not a hurricane by the time it reached land.
Only one hurricane made U.S. landfall this year, Arthur, which grazed the Outer Banks of North Carolina with 100 mph (160 kph) winds, disrupting the July 4 holiday weekend.
“There’s been a whole sequence of conditions that suppress these storms,” said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster.
Among factors that tamped down storm formation were below-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and an active Pacific storm season that saw more than 20 named storms in its most active season since 1992.
“It’s a seesaw effect; often when the Atlantic is more active the Pacific will be suppressed,” Bell said..
At the start of the season forecasters had predicted up to 13 tropical storms with winds topping 39 mph (63 kph), and at least one major storm."...via Drudge
5/22/14, "NOAA predicts near-normal or below-normal 2014 Atlantic hurricane season," noaa.gov
"El Niño expected to develop and suppress the number and intensity of tropical cyclones."
"In its 2014 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a near-normal or below-normal season.
The main driver of this year’s outlook is the anticipated development of El Niño this summer. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.
The outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season. For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 8 to 13 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
These numbers are near or below the seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, based on the average from 1981 to 2010. The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico....
Humberto was the first of only two Atlantic hurricanes in 2013. It reached peak intensity, with top winds of 90 mph, in the far eastern Atlantic.Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said the Atlantic – which has seen above-normal seasons in 12 of the last 20 years – has been in an era of high activity for hurricanes since 1995. However, this high-activity pattern is expected to be offset in 2014 by the impacts of El Niño, and by cooler Atlantic Ocean temperatures than we’ve seen in recent years.
“Atmospheric and oceanic conditions across the tropical Pacific are already taking on some El Niño characteristics. Also, we are currently seeing strong trade winds and wind shear over the tropical Atlantic, and NOAA’s climate models predict these conditions will persist, in part because of El Niño,” Bell said. “The expectation of near-average Atlantic Ocean temperatures this season, rather than the above-average temperatures seen since 1995, also suggests fewer Atlantic hurricanes.”...
NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts will be provided throughout the season by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center."...