Hurricane Predictions Off By Wide Margin
Over the past year there were predictions about how bad hurricanes were going to get (example). That we should expect more and stronger hurricanes. One problem though, so far this hurricane season is one of the least active in decades.
So what happened? Lots.
Storms were starved for fuel after ingesting masses of dry Saharan dust and air over the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists say the storm-snuffing dust was more abundant than usual this year.
In the season’s peak, storms were curving right like errant field goals. High pressure that normally hunkers near Bermuda shifted far eastward, and five storms rode the clockwise winds away from Florida.
Finally, a rapidly growing El Nino, a warming of water over the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifted winds high in the atmosphere southward. The winds left developing storms disheveled and unable to become organized.
As they say about the stock market: Past results are no indication of future performance.
This year’s uneventful season provides no assurance that next year will be as calm:
- The Atlantic remains in a 20- to 30-year cycle of high hurricane activity that started in 1995. Water temperatures are above normal.
- El Nino probably won’t be around to decapitate storms.
There’s no promise that the Saharan dust will be as abundant.
So, it looks like it was some fortuitous events that resulted in the quiet hurricane season this year. However, the article does note that we are in a 20 to 30 year cycle of high hurricane activity. Still, a bit of good news given last years disasters.