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Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends as It Began: Quietly

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ended Sunday (Nov. 30), finished much like it performed over the past six months, with a whimper, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center.

"A combination of atmospheric conditions acted to suppress the Atlantic hurricane season, including very strong vertical wind shear, combined with increased atmospheric stability, stronger sinking motion and drier air across the tropical Atlantic," said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "Also, the West African monsoon was near to below average, making it more difficult for African easterly waves to develop."

Prior to the June 1 start of the hurricane season, NOAA said there was a 50% chance of a below-normal hurricane season (see Daily GPIMay 22). Other forecasters also foresaw a relatively quiet 2014 Atlantic hurricane season (see Daily GPIJuly 23). By August, the NOAA forecasters were saying the season would likely produce just seven to 12 named storms, including three to six hurricanes, two or fewer of them major (Category 3 or higher) (see Daily GPIAug. 7).

The Atlantic Basin produced a total of eight named storms, including six hurricanes, two of them major, NOAA said last week. The storms produced relatively little impact on North American energy interests.

Hurricane Arthur, which skirted the Atlantic seaboard during the first week of July, cooled some eastern population centers and capped demand for natural gas over the Independence Day weekend (see Daily GPIJuly 7). Hurricane Bertha formed east of the southern Lesser Antilles in the closing hours of July and had little effect on U.S. energy interests or natural gas prices before dissipating about 500 miles south of Halifax, NS, Aug. 6. Hurricane Cristobal threatened Bermuda but had little impact on the U.S. East Coast (see Daily GPIAug. 26).

Hurricanes Edouard, Fay and Gonzalo formed and dissipated far from U.S. energy interests in September and October, and there have been no Atlantic hurricanes since.

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