Only Three Hurricanes Forming This Year, Experts Say
A couple of storm forecasters from Colorado have brought some seemingly bad news for those of us who love to take days off and listen to 24-hour local news stations tell us how we're all gonna die when a hurricane is on its way.
Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University say that the 2014 hurricane season will be a mild one, thanks mainly to El Niño coming in. Specifically, the forecasters say this season will see nine named storms, which include just three hurricanes.
Of course, these are the same guys who said we were going to get clobbered last year, which, of course, we didn't. Klotzbach and Gray said the 2013 season would give us a whopping nine hurricanes, with 18 named storms.
In the end, only two hurricanes emerged out of the predicted nine.
Klotzbach and Gray say that El Niño will be rearing its head this year to make storm formations difficult. While El Niño can be a tad unpredictable, it usually steers hurricanes away from Florida or messes up hurricanes altogether. But you never know with El Niño. He's a fickle little punk.
Klotzbach says this year's El Niño is a particularly strong one and so, as a result, hurricane season will be a tad on the light side.
Usually, Florida gets a 50-50 shot every year when it comes to a hurricane making landfall.
But Klotzbach and Gray are predicting that, overall, only one major hurricane will be coming 'round our parts this season. One with sustained winds of 110 mph, but still.
With this in mind, the two predict that Florida has a 35 percent chance of getting hit by a hurricane, which is way below the annual average chance of 51 percent.
They give the same chances to a major hurricane striking the U.S. coast.
The chance for a major hurricane hitting Florida drops to 20 percent, according to their data.
"The tropical Atlantic has cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Niño event this summer and fall appear to be quite high," Klotzbach said via USA Today. "Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions."
This means that 2014 is expected to be quieter than a typical year. Since the U.S. began tracking hurricanes in 1950, the annual average has been 12 storms, with seven becoming hurricanes.
So, this is all relatively good news, but in this day and age of climate change and unpredictability, you never can tell.
Last year, the two Colorado forecasters gave Florida a 72 percent chance of getting hit by a major hurricane. Only Hurricanes Humberto and Ingrid emerged, and neither was ever a serious threat to Florida. The rest of the storms became tropical disturbances and storms, and the ones that did hit Florida were mainly just annoying, dumping a lot of rain on us and making our daily work commutes a pain in the ass.
Otherwise, we made out just fine.
For its part, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is scheduled to release an official hurricane season forecast sometime next month. Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30.
So, with all this in mind, better to still stock up on batteries and water, just in case.
That, or send in those Hurricane Predicting Sharks we were all promised!