The odds of a quieter-than-average 2014 Atlantic Basin hurricane season appear to be improving, according to the latest Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook.
The updated forecast released August 7 calls for only a five percent probability of an above-normal number of tropical storms/hurricanes in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico while there is now a 70 percent chance that the atmosphere will churn out fewer tropical cyclones than in a typical season. The CPC forecasters say there’s a 25 percent chance the season will have an average number of named storms.
A (named) tropical storm is declared when a closed warm-core surface low pressure area generates sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph, it becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 mph or higher.
The 30-year average is for 12 named storms, six of which are hurricanes, and three “major” hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
Hurricane "Arthur" over Pamlico Sound, North Carolina early on the morning of July 4, 2014.
This year’s outlook calls for 7 to 12 storms total with 3 to 6 hurricanes and 0 to 2 major hurricanes. The August update toned down an already subdued outlook issued in May. The forecast at that time called for a 50 percent chance of a “quiet” season with 1 or 2 major hurricanes and 8 to 13 storms total.
Forecasters cite these factors in their adjusted forecast:
Hurricane Arthur was the first named system of the 2014 Atlantic season; it formed off of Florida and moved northward, making landfall in eastern North Carolina late on July 3. It was the earliest hurricane on record for that state. Arthur was a Category Two with winds of 100 mph, but the overall damage from the storm was quite low. “Bertha” formed on July 31 but remained at sea. It tracked northeastward and dissipated over colder north Atlantic waters on August 6.
How might this slow season affect Texoma? Well, fewer tropical weather systems means a reduced chance of rainfall that might finish filling area lakes, so it does not bode well in that regard. On the other hand, even a low-key El Nino often keeps upper level high pressure areas weaker than average. This offers better potential for fronts and troughs to pass and bring rain this autumn.
Overall, then, I'd say Texoma is in good shape to see decent rainfall into the fall season regardless of what happens in the tropics.
Weather Authority/News 12