The scale divides hurricanes into five categories based on wind speed measured in 5-knot increments. Hurricane Arthur reached Category 2 strength on July 3 before cutting across North Carolina's Outer Banks.
That's likely because steering currents over the Atlantic tended to curve the few storms that formed in a northern direction, away from the Caribbean Sea and into the Atlantic, said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster for NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, in a telephone interview Monday. Hurricane Arthur's rainfall as it crosses the North Carolina coast, captured by NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory.
Bell credited a combination of atmospheric conditions for making it difficult for hurricanes to form in 2014, including very strong vertical wind shear in the atmosphere above areas where storms usually formed, stronger sinking motion for air in the upper atmosphere in those same areas, and drier air across the tropical Atlantic. What seemed not to be a direct factor was El Nino, despite predictions that the warm-water conditions in the eastern and central Pacific would develop at the height of the hurricane season and increase storm-killing shear in the Atlantic.
In the interview, Bell said it's way too soon to begin predicting what will happen during the 2015 hurricane season, which will last from June 1 to Nov.
View full sizeNational Hurricane Center forecasters were tracking a low pressure system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and another near the coast of Africa, for signs of development into a tropical depression in this experimental five-day tropical weather outlook graphic from Oct. It's also unclear whether a longer-term climate cycle believed responsible for more active hurricane seasons since 1995 remains in effect.


Bell said even more important, though, is for the public not to become complacent because of a lull in hurricane activity. View full sizeCoastal areas of North Carolina, including Wrightsville Beach, were predicted to see storm surges of greater than 3 feet above ground level from Hurricane Arthur, according to the National Hurricane Center's experimental surge forecast map. Forecasters credited NOAA's upgraded hurricane climate model, the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting, or HWRF, model for accurately forecasting Arthur's landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and for other accurate forecasts during the season.
The National Hurricane Center also rolled out two new products during the 2014 season, an experimental five-day graphical tropical weather outlook forecast for both the Atlantic and North Pacific basins, and an experimental potential storm surge flooding map for areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in advance of landfalling storms. The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its forecast for the Atlantic hurricane season Wednesday.
The 2013 hurricane season is shaping up to be active to extremely active, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned Thursday. An average season comprises 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, NOAA said. Hurricanes thrive on warm water and the tropical Atlantic has cooled this year, the researchers said. 30) after producing only eight named storms, including six hurricanes, of which only two were major, National Weather Service forecasters said.


Of those, 7 to 11 could become hurricanes, with winds of more than 74 mph, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes with winds above 111 mph.
East Coast, compared with a historical average of 31 percent, and a 24 percent one would hit the Gulf of Mexico coast, compared with an average of 30 percent.Weather watchers may notice a few small changes when the National Hurricane Center begins issuing its advisories this year.
Nevertheless, we know that's not always going to be the case," said Louis Uccellini,, director of NOAA's National Weather Service, in a news release marking the end of the season. The most recent forecast of El Nino conditions suggests that the warmer temperatures may still develop this winter and spring. Forecasters made small tweaks to the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity to fix a longstanding problem that arises from rounding. The change takes effect on May 15 and does not affect categories assigned to hurricanes that occurred previously.
In addition to fewer Atlantic hurricanes, El Ninos are associated with flooding in some places, droughts elsewhere and generally warmer global temperatures.




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