NOAA expects below-normal Atlantic hurricane season - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

NOAA expects below-normal Atlantic hurricane season

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El Nino is making a comeback, and with it comes a quieter-than-normal season in the Atlantic.  On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their hurricane prediction from Brooklyn.

"NOAA predicts the Atlantic hurricane season in 2014 will have a range of eight to 13 tropical storms," said NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan.  "Three to six of which will become hurricanes, and one to two of those may grow in strength to become a category three or higher."

An average Atlantic hurricane season features 12 named tropical storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes of category three or higher.  Category three hurricanes have wind speeds of at least 111 mph.

NOAA attributes this year's forecast to the expected development of El Nino, and cooler ocean waters in the Atlantic. El Nino is the above-normal warming of ocean waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It has been linked to global weather events, including less-active hurricane seasons.

A breakdown of how these factors limit hurricane development can be found on the CBS3 Pinpoint Weather Blog.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Seasonal hurricane forecasts do not indicate whether a specific region will be hit by a storm, or how many storms will make landfall. In 1991, Hurricane Bob, the last hurricane to make a direct landfall in New England, was the only hurricane to make landfall during that below-normal season. 

Meanwhile, last year had an above-normal 13 named tropical storms, but not a single hurricane hit the United States.

A big improvement this year, the National Hurricane Center will be implementing a new storm surge flooding map for any coastal areas at risk from a tropical storm, possible right here in New England.

"It combines oceanographic information like tides, currents, water level," said Dr. Holly Bamford, director of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "It combines it into a storm surge model that provides the answers we need to know. Questions like how high is the flood going to be, where is it going to be, what's going to be impacted and when it's going to show up."

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