CSU bases its forecast on unusual cooling in the Atlantic and particularly on the likelihood of an El Nino developing in the eastern Pacific.
The Tropical Meteorology Project team predicts nine named storms during the 2012 season. Of those, three are expected to become hurricanes, but only one is predicted to become a major storm of Category 3 or above.
“So far, the 2014 season is exhibiting characteristics similar to the 1957, 1963, 1965, 1997 and 2002 hurricane seasons,” says meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, co-author of the annual forecast. “All of these had normal or below-normal activity.
“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Nino event this summer and fall appear to be quite high,” he says.
Historical data show that hurricane activity decreases when an El Nino is present.
The CSU team predicts the 2014 season will be about 60 percent of an average season. By comparison, last year’s season was about 40 percent of normal.
Landfall probabilities, the team says, are:
• 35 percent — entire U.S. coastline.
• 20 percent — U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula.
• 19 percent — Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville.
• 28 percent — Caribbean
The CSU team will issue forecast updates on June 2 and July 31.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami will issue its hurricane season forecast in the last week of May, during hurricane awareness week just prior to the start of the 2014 season—which is from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The team warns against complacency from a lower-than-active forecast. “It takes only one landfall near you,” Klotzbach says, “to make this an active season.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.