The coolest tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures and an emerging El Nino event in the Pacific continue to convince forecasters at Weather Services International (WSI) that the 2014 hurricane season will be relatively mild.
As they had in their two previous tropical forecasts, the WSI team said it expected 11 named storms, including five hurricanes, two of them major (Category 3 or higher) to form in the Atlantic this year (see Daily GPI, June 24; May 19). That would be a relatively quiet tropical season, well below both the 1950-2013 normals of 12/7/3 and the more recent "active period" (1995-2013) normals of 15/8/4, WSI said.
"The statistical and dynamical models that we employ to make seasonal tropical forecasts have been in unusually good agreement with very few month-on-month changes since our original forecast was issued in March," said WSI Chief Meteorologist Todd Crawford. "Tropical Atlantic surface temperatures are as cool as they have been since 1994, and the progression towards El Nino conditions is continuing, although with fits and starts."
Since its June 1 start, the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has produced a single named storm, Hurricane Arthur, which skirted the Atlantic seaboard during the first week of July, cooling some eastern population centers and capping demand for natural gas over the Independence Day weekend (see Daily GPI, July 7).
The Energy Information Administration has said a relatively mild hurricane season this year would result in an estimated 30 Bcf of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico shut in at some point (see Daily GPI, June 11).
There were 14 named storms last year, but only two of them became hurricanes, and none reached major hurricane status. Late in the hurricane season, Tropical Storm Karen forced gas and oil operations to be shut-in and dozens of platforms to be evacuated, but the storm weakened before doing any major damage (see Daily GPI, Oct. 7, 2013).