Before we take a look at the forecast for the upcoming 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, let's first take a look back at last year's season and see what we've learned. Well, as you might remember, going into the 2013 Hurricane Season, all major tropical forecasting outlets were predicting an active Hurricane Season. The official NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) forecast called for 13 to 20 named storms, with 6 to 9 hurricanes, including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3 or larger). Well, when the dust settled on November 30th, the 2013 Hurricane Season forecast proved to be a bust. Not only was it not an active season, it was one of the weakest Atlantic Hurricane seasons in decades. While there were 14 named storms, these storms were mostly weak and short-lived. Only 2 hurricanes were observed, and both of them only reached Category 1 strength. Plus, there was almost no impact on the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast. Hurricane forecasters point to a few factors which they believe contributed to the relatively weak Hurricane Season, with an abnormally dry Western Sahara being one of the factors that is mentioned. Needless to say, a majority of the tropical forecasting community was forced to eat crow, as it were. But alas, they are back and ready for more, and as we head into the 2014 Hurricane Season, the experts' predictions are in, and the consensus is that this is going to be a weaker-than-normal Hurricane Season. Now, the smart-alec will say, "Oh, then I guess I should prepare for a very active Hurricane Season". But to those wisenheimers, I say this: Recent indications are that we are entering into an El Nino weather pattern, and looking back at past Hurricane Seasons, an El Nino weather pattern almost always coincides with a weaker-than-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season. You just have to watch out for that pesky "almost" part. But I digress. The official NOAA Atlantic Hurricane Forecast for the 2014 Season calls for 8 to 13 named storms, with 3 to 6 hurricanes, including 1 to 2 major hurricanes. These numbers are slightly below the 30-year average for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Now all we have to do is hurry up and wait for this 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season to get underway.
-Kevin Coskren, ABC6 StormTracker WeatherTeam