The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season ended on Saturday, but it was a season that wasn’t as big of a hoot as some have predicted. The season ended with 13 named tropical cyclones, with two of those hurricanes. None of the hurricanes were classified as major, which has not occurred in quite a while.
The storm that made the most impact on Florida was Tropical Storm Andrea, which made landfall near Steinhatchee in June. Andrea spawned at least eight tornadoes across the state, but the damage was not considered catastrophic.
Experts have been finding reasons for the blown forecasts. Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State, in an interview with NPR, said…
“We’ve being doing these forecasts for 30 years and that’s probably the biggest forecast bust that we’ve had so, obviously, that’s obviously not a great feeling.”
At least some mets suggest that the dry air from the Saharan Air Layer along with wind shear has been keeping the activity low and not as potent as previous seasons. Accuweather also claims that cooler sea surface temperatures across the eastern Atlantic was another factor into the bust season. Based on what I have seen this summer, I’d say that these variables are a fair assessment. The environment was not very primed for activity.
So, what’s in store for 2014? It’s a bit too early to say (for me, at least). Dr. Klotzbach and Dr. Gray will probably come out with their seasonal predictions in the next week, so at least we’ll have a glimpse into their thought process. We are still in a positive phase of the AMO, so the level of activity we’ve seen since the mid 1990s will, overall, likely continue. It’ll be interesting to see the ENSO predictions in the coming months to give an idea how much an El Niño, La Niña, or neutral phase could affect the upcoming season.
Floridians can breathe a sigh of relief – FOR NOW. It’s been a while since Florida has had a major hurricane impact the state, so residents shouldn’t get too comfortable in the long run. Always prepare for hurricane seasons like it will be a bad one. It only takes one storm to make a season infamous (e.g. Andrew in 1992).