Forecaster: 2 Major Hurricanes Possible in Upcoming Season

The upcoming Atlantic hurricane session will be one with a higher chance for tropical development close to the U.S. coast, according to the latest expert forecast.

At the same time, there should be below normal tropical activity, particularly in the deep tropics.

WeatherBELL Analytics in New York said it is making no changes from its early April forecast of 8-10 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes, with a seasonal ACE (Accumulated Cyclonic Energy) index 75-90 percent of normal. This index measures the destructive potential of all of the storms of a season.

The 2013 Hurricane season featured below normal tropical activity in the Atlantic, featuring 14 total storms, 2 hurricanes, no major hurricanes, and an ACE index 30 percent of normal.

“We think this a challenging year, one that has a greater threat of higher intensity storms closer to the coast, and, where like 2012, warnings will frequently be issued with the first official NHC [National Hurricane Center] advisory,” the firm said in its forecast.

“The very warm water off of the Eastern Seaboard is a huge problem, along with the oncoming El Niño conditions,” said Joe Bastardi, the firm’s chief forecaster.

Bastardi said the conditions “across the Atlantic are very similar to 1954.” The 1954 season had a substantial impact on the Eastern coast, with hurricanes Carol (Long Island), Etna (Massachusetts) and Hazel (Carolinas) making landfall.

“We have been in awe at the lack of activity near the East Coast over the last 20 years, given the similar cycle to the 1950s,” the firm said.

Irene and Sandy “were nothing” compared to the storms of the 1950s or the intensity of 1938 and 1944, according to the forecast, which also said that there is “nothing to prohibit another Sandy-type hit from the southeast or three storms up the East Coast in one year despite a relatively low number of named storms in a season.”

Colorado State University researchers have forecast nine named storms, with three of them growing into hurricanes and one becoming a major storm.
Scientists at Coastal Carolina University have said they expect a “below to near normal” hurricane season with between three and six hurricanes. They said they do not expect any hurricane to make landfall on the East Coast or in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.