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So, What Happened to the Hurricane Season?

Those who are superstitious may think it is tempting fate to call attention to good news, but here goes: So far, the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been a real dud...
October 17, 2013

Those who are superstitious may think it is tempting fate to call attention to good news, but here goes: So far, the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been a real dud. There have been storms — 11 named storms so far, which is about average for this time of year. But those storms have been weaker than average — only two, Humberto and Ingrid, were classified as hurricanes — and only Tropical Storm Andrea brought flooding and minimal destruction to the eastern portion of the U.S. This is in sharp contrast with predictions of an above-average season.

Needless to say, if this low level of hurricane activity and no landfalls persists through the end of the season, it will be excellent news for the insurance industry. The only sounds of wind will be the sighs of relief coming from insurers, especially in places like Florida, Louisiana and even New Jersey.

So what happened? Or, more to the point, what didn’t happen? Robert Korty, an associate professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M University, notes that August and September, usually very active months for tropical storms, were especially quiet: “The dry air coming across the Atlantic from Africa prevented a lot of storms from developing during August, and the ones that did develop were not very strong. So the result has been a hurricane season of about normal in number of storms, but these have been relatively weak ones so far.” And, they mainly avoided the U.S. mainland.

Of course, there is a less-scientific explanation: We got lucky. Let’s hope our luck holds up through the official end of the hurricane season on November 30.

What happened to hurricane season? And why we should keep forecasting it… (The Washington Post 09/30/13)

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