NOAA releases hurricane predictions

Published 9:23 pm Thursday, May 22, 2014

NOAA predicted an average or below-average 2014 Atlantic hurricane forecast.

The report, which was issued Thursday, forecasted eight to 13 named storms, three to six hurricanes and one to two major hurricanes.

The average is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or stronger storm. Those averages are based on data from 1981-2010.

NOAA said a developing El Nino could mean fewer storms in the Atlantic this summer. The warming of the waters of the equatorial Pacific influences climate patterns worldwide, and in the Atlantic can produce stronger wind shear, which tears apart many storms before they can develop.

However, some hurricanes are not out of the question. Devastating Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1992, an El Nino year; hence the season’s catchphrase, “It only takes one.”

“And even though we expect El Niño to suppress the number of storms this season, it’s important to remember it takes only one landfalling storm to cause a disaster,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan in a news release.

NOAA said there’s a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.

The tropical forecast for the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific is for a normal or above-normal season, again because of El Nino and its warming of Pacific waters.

NOAA will update its forecast in August, which is usually prime time for tropical storm formation.