WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Despite predictions for numerous violent storms, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was actually one of the quietest in decades - featuring only two hurricanes and zero major (Cat. 3+) hurricanes.
WHY WERE THE INITIAL PREDICTIONS SO DIRE?
Just before the start of the hurricane season, long-range forecasters generally cited two main conditions present in 2013 that could / would aid in Atlantic hurricane development:
1. Above-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Basin (more potential fuel for storms)
2. Lack of an El Nino in the Pacific (linked to more favorable upper-level wind patterns for storms in the Atlantic)
WHAT DISRUPTED HURRICANE DEVELOPMENT THEN?
Two main factors disrupted hurricanes from growing strong in 2013:
1. A persistent zone of dry and stable air in the central Atlantic Ocean (Tropical Storms Dorian and Erin, and also Hurricane Humberto dissipated when they passed through this zone.)
2. Many storms formed very close to Mexico and steering winds quickly drove them inland. (Tropical Storms Barry and Fernand and also Hurricane Ingrid would have likely grown much stronger if they had had more time over the warm Gulf of Mexico.)
WHAT DO WE TAKE AWAY FROM THE 2013 SEASON?
Despite a quiet 2013, our mindsets should remain the same going into future hurricane seasons. Being prepared is the best way to stay safe during a hurricane season, no matter what the long-range forecasts may say.