MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Forecasters are now saying the Atlantic Hurricane Season is likely to be a “below-normal” season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said Thursday they predict a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a five percent chance of an above-normal season.
This means a higher chance of seeing a below-normal season.
The predictions made in the initial 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook in May were 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.
Scientists said the changes are due to atmosphere and oceanic conditions that suppress cyclone development.
However, the scientist reminded the public that despite predictions, a tropical storm or hurricane can still strike the United States and people need to remain on alert.
The primary factors influencing the increased chance of a below-normal season are:
- Overall atmospheric conditions are not favorable for storm development. This includes strong vertical wind shear, a weaker West African monsoon, and the combination of increased atmospheric stability and sinking motion. These conditions mean fewer tropical systems are spawned off the African coast, and those that do form are less likely to become hurricanes. These conditions are stronger than originally predicted in May and are expected to last mid-August through October, the peak months of the hurricane season;
- Overall oceanic conditions are not favorable for storm development. This includes below-average temperatures across the Tropical Atlantic, which are exceptionally cool relative to the remainder of the global Tropics. This cooling is even stronger than models predicted in May and is expected to persist through the hurricane season; and
- El Niño is still likely to develop and to suppress storm development by increasing vertical wind shear, stability and sinking motion in the atmosphere.
Including Hurricanes Arthur and Bertha, the new predictions are for 7 to 12 named storms, including 3 to 6 hurricanes, of which 0 to 2 could become major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.
These ranges are centered below the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The initial outlook in May predicted 8 to 13 named storms, 3 to 6 hurricanes and 1 to 2 major hurricanes.
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