The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 27, 2013

Hurricane season going out with whimper


TARBORO — The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially ends Saturday, will go down as the least active in 30 years.

Between 1981 and 2010, an average hurricane season included 12 tropical storms with six-to-seven becoming hurricanes and two of those becoming major (Category 3+) hurricanes.

This year, there were 13 tropical storms, two hurricanes that were just briefly a Category I, and no major hurricanes.

The last season to have no major storms was 1994 and 1982 was the last time with only two hurricanes.

The most intense storms this year tied at 75 knots (Humberto and Ingrid).

Heading into the season, all of the typical signals and precursors pointed forecasters to a fairly uniform conclusion — that the season would be very active.  Forecast teams released their seasonal outlooks in late May to early June and every one of them was predicting about 7-9 hurricanes, and about 130-165% of an average season’s ACE (accumulated cyclone energy).   Only ECMWF predicted a slightly below-active season at about 80 percent of average ACE (accumulated cyclone energy), although they also predicted 6-7 hurricanes.

Even among the groups that issue periodic mid-season updates and forecasts, the success rate was not any higher.  The core months of August, September, and October slipped by with only minimal activity, despite key factors continuing to appear favorable.

While such an inactive season is not unprecedented, usually the forecasts would do a decent job of anticipating the upcoming slow season. Of course, the advantage of such a quiet season is there were not any devastating landfalls anywhere in the basin.