Good news for South Jersey in revised hurricane numbers

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Residents living along the United States from Florida to the North Carolina, South Jersey, Long Island and Massachusetts heard some long-awaited words Thursday, Aug. 7, when the NOAA Climate Prediction Center revised its hurricane outlook for 2014./CPC Residents living along the United States from Florida to the North Carolina, South Jersey, Long Island and Massachusetts heard some long-awaited words Thursday, Aug. 7, when the NOAA Climate Prediction Center revised its hurricane outlook for 2014./CPC Residents living along the eastern United States from Florida to the North Carolina, South Jersey, Long Island and Massachusetts heard some long-awaited words Thursday, Aug. 7, when the NOAA Climate Prediction Center revised its hurricane outlook for 2014.

See what the new numbers mean by clicking here.

“We are more confident that a below-normal season will occur because atmospheric and oceanic conditions that suppress cyclone formation have developed and will persist through the season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Nonetheless, tropical storms and hurricanes can strike the U.S. during below-normal seasons, as we have already seen this year when Arthur made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane. We urge everyone to remain prepared and be on alert throughout the season.”

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season by the numbers

The updated hurricane season outlook, which includes the activity to date of hurricanes Arthur and Bertha, predicts a 70 percent chance of the following ranges: 7 to 12 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which 2 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, 5; winds of at least 111 mph).

These ranges are centered below the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The initial outlook in May predicted 8 to 13 named storms, 3 to 6 hurricanes and 1 to 2 major hurricanes.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center raised the likelihood for a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season in an outlook issued Wednesday, Aug. 6.

According to the predictions, there is a much greater chance of getting fewer tropical disturbances, tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean this year.

The update predicts a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a 5 percent chance of an above-normal season.

The chances of a below-normal season total of storms is much higher than the May 22 outlook, the NOAA said. The probabilities in the initial outlook issued May 22 were 50 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Why so few Atlantic hurricanes, tropical storms in 2014?

The Climate Prediction Center said there were several factors that influenced its decision to reaffirm its prediction of a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

Overall atmospheric conditions are unfavorable for storm development, the Climate Prediction Center said.

They include a strong vertical wind shear which tears the tops off of hurricanes. There is a weaker West African monsoon season, which is where many tropical disturbances are born.

These conditions combine to mean fewer tropical disturbances and tropical storms will form off the west coast of Africa. Those that do form will have a very difficult time of growing from a disturbance to a tropical storm to a hurricane.

Anit-hurricane conditions are expected to last from mid-August through October, the peak months of hurricane activity, the Climate Prediction Center said.

Cooler-than-normal water temperatures in much of the Atlantic Ocean will also limit any potential hurricane development because hurricanes like to feed on warm water. This cooling is much less than forecasters predicted in May, the Climate Prediction Center said.

An El Nino is still likely to develop and will suppress tropical storm development also, the Climate Prediction Center said.

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