News Picks : NOAA predicts fewer tropical storms this year
23 May 2014
New York Times: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it expects this year's hurricane season in the US to be near or below normal. NOAA’s prediction is based on a developing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño brings warmer ocean water and stronger wind shear, which can increase atmospheric stability across the Atlantic and reduce the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. NOAA predicts a 50% chance of a below-normal season and a 40% chance of a near-normal season, with just a 10% chance of an above-normal season. Compared with a typical year of about 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes, 3 of them major, this year may bring just 8 named storms and 3 hurricanes, with 1 or 2 major hurricanes. NOAA continues to fine-tune its forecasting tools and mapping systems, however, because “it only takes one destructive storm to make for a very bad season on the ground in our communities,” according to NOAA director Kathryn Sullivan.