WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - All factors are pointing to the 2014 hurricane season being a mild season with a below average number of named storms, according to WPTV Chief Meteorologist Steve Weagle.
It’s been ten years since back-to-back hurricanes came across South Florida shores causing widespread destruction.
First it was Hurricane Frances on September 5, 2004.
Three weeks later, Hurricane Jeanne tore through.
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Florida.
Since then, no hurricane has made a direct hit on Florida shores.
Here are some factors that go into this year’s hurricane season forecast:
1) Ending the Streak
This year marks nine years since Florida was given a direct hit by a hurricane. It’s the longest streak recorded.
2) El Nino
So far, it’s shaping up to be a mild El Nino pattern this summer. It’s the one thing this season could have in common with 2004. Typically, an El Nino pattern reduces the risk of hurricanes. The warmer surface Pacific Ocean temperatures increase wind shear in the Atlantic. In 2004, it was too mild a pattern to have that effect.
3) Saharan Dust
The winds that blow sand from deserts in African can impact hurricanes. The Saharan winds blow sand across the Atlantic and can keep hurricanes from forming.
4) Bermuda High
The Bermuda High is often the biggest factor in where a hurricane hits. The warm air mass forms over the Atlantic. The closer it is to us, the greater the threat that the eye of the hurricane will make an impact. The further it is, the more likely the hurricane will hit further up the east coast. It’s too early to tell where it’ll form. This factor is one of the most difficult when it comes to forecasting hurricanes.
5) May Rainfall
When it rains in May, does that affect hurricanes? Retired National Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Lushine thought so. He analyzed 75 years of May rain totals. He found South Florida was three times more likely to have a hurricane strike after a very dry May and three times less likely after a very wet May. At this point, we’re just slightly above the average rainfall for May. This theory is not widely accepted. Still it’s another voice in trying to understand hurricane forecasts.
Even when forecasting a mild hurricane season with a below average number of storms, a devastating hurricane can still hit.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew was one of only four hurricanes that season.
Still, it created widespread destruction.