Posted: Apr 3, 2014 12:30 PM by Meteorologist Josh Eachus
Updated: Apr 8, 2014 6:15 AM
As we turn the calendar to April and enjoy warmer spring temperatures, weather enthusiasts and forecasters know that the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone season is just 60 days away. However, for those not fully engrossed in watching the tropics, you may wonder where they've been.
Though the number of named storms in 2013 was near average, just two hurricanes meant it was the least active year for hurricanes in over 30 years. Furthermore, for the first time since 1994, there were no major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that reaches category 3 strength or higher.
According to the National Hurricane Center, in terms of "accumulated cyclone energy," which measures the combined strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes, tropical cyclone activity through the end of October was about 70 percent below the 1981-2010 average. Even rarer perhaps, is the fact that there were NO hurricane strikes in the United States during the year. Since 1951 that has only happened 5 times: 2000, 2001, 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Looking forward, experts are finalizing their projections for the upcoming season. A leader in the field, Dr. William Gray, of Colorado State University believes that despite a quiet 2013, one trend that has led to active tropical seasons in the last 20 years will continue. However, the potentially limiting factor will be if and when an El Nino develops.
Gray and the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University lost $100,000 in funding last year, putting the future of the program and long-term Atlantic hurricane prediction in doubt. Donations of $60,000 resulted in just enough to allow the program to issue their annual forecast, due out on April 10.
Gray and his colleagues' preliminary report assessing the expected conditions, released in December, projected the likelihood of 4 scenarios this upcoming season. The most likely scenario, given a 40% likelihood, yielded a net tropical cyclone (NTC) score of 75. That score tends to result in seasons with 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes.
Gray's complete prediction is expected in the coming days. Stay with wbrz.com/weather for continuing coverage.
You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.