CLEVELAND - There have been NO hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, the Caribbean, or the Gulf of Mexico this season. Zero. The season, which began on June 1, did produce 5 named tropical storms. But this season has been slow so far.
On average, the first hurricane forms by Aug. 10. The second one normally forms by Aug. 28. As of Friday, the National Hurricane Center was watching two weak disturbances in the Gulf of Mexico. They are forecasting only a 10% chance of tropical storm development from those two systems in the next few days. Elsewhere in the Atlantic, tropical storm or hurricane formation is not expected for the next 5 days. That gets us pretty close to September.
Keep in mind, the Atlantic Hurricane Season peaks on or around September 10. There have been 25 other years since the 1850s where the first hurricane developed on or after September 1. The latest first hurricane in any Atlantic Hurricane season developed on October 8, 1905.
But, forecasters warn not to be complacent. Officials at the National Hurricane Center say that conditions are becoming favorable for tropical storm and hurricane development. They are still predicting a season with an above normal amount of named storms. They expect 13 to 19 named storms of tropical storm strength (winds of 39 mph or higher). Out of those storms, the NHC predicts 6 to 9 will become hurricanes (winds 74 mph or higher). they also say 3 to 5 storms will become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds of at least 111+ mph).
Are hurricanes increasing in numbers or intensity? The US Government uses a metric called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index (ACE). Notice the ACE Index below shows global tropical cyclone energy. The current ACE number is 7.8. Normally by late August its about 17. So, we are running about 55-percent below the normal for this time of year in the Atlantic. Also note that global tropical cyclone energy is up slightly from its recent 34-year minimum. Globally, cyclone energy is well below its peak from the from the 1990s and early 2000's.
Remaining storm names to be assigned this year in 2013 are Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy. Hurricane Season officially ends November 30.
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