The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season will officially end this Saturday Nov. 30th. It will go down as the one of the weakest on record. With only 2 storms reaching hurricane strength, Humberto and Ingrid, and no major storms (winds in excess of 110 mph). According to the National Hurricane Center it ranks as the 6th weakest season since 1950.
"It was a busted forecast," said Chris Landsea, a forecaster at the
National Hurricane Center. "We did not anticipate it to be a quiet year."
The main reason for this, according to the experts, is the infiltration of dry air, or Saharan dust from Africa. Atlantic sea surface temperatures were above average before the season started (June 1st), this along with other factors led prognosticators to think we would have an active year. In fact Dr. Philip Klotzbach and Dr. William Gray were projecting 18 named storms, 9 of which would become hurricanes and 4 of those growing into major storms.
This year we had 13 named storms, with only 2 of those developing into hurricanes.
Will this be a trend in upcoming years? it's not that easy to project at this time. We are 18 years into an active period of storms, if you subscribe to the theory of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The AMO over the past, shows that every 20-35 years the sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, goes from a shift of being warmer than normal to cooler than average. The correlation between warmer than average water and increased tropical activity can be seen in the trends over the last century. One can only hope this year marks the end to the active seasons.
As I say every year, "It really doesn't matter how many storms develop, it only matters if ONE hits you". This year only Tropical Storm Andrea had a minor impact here, bringing some swells and a bit of heavy rain as it moved through the NE Gulf of Mexico in early June.
In late Oct. of 1944 a major storm made landfall into Sarasota, and there were only 11 storms that year. In 1960 hurricane Donna moved through the inland areas of the Suncoast bringing 120 mph winds, which only 7 named storms developed. So it really doesn't matter how many storms there are in a season (unless that number is 0). It only takes one hitting your coast to make it an active tropical season.
So it looks like the season will end with 13 named storms and with the trend this year it's unlikely we will see any form in December.