Forecasters more confident Atlantic hurricane season will be quiet
With only two named storms thus far in the hurricane season and a limited number of home insurance claims, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently noted that it likely will be another year in which East Coast residents may not see a major hurricane make landfall.
In its latest forecast, NOAA indicated that there's a 70 percent chance the Atlantic hurricane season will be below normal. In June, which is traditionally when storm activity ramps up, forecasters predicted with 50 percent certainty that hurricanes would be few and far between.
Gerry Bell, Ph.D. and lead forecaster for NOAA's Climate Predication Center, indicated that the main reason for the Atlantic Ocean not producing much in the way of hurricanes has to do with atmospheric conditions, which have been quiet. The lack of moisture will likely continue for the duration.
That's not to say that hurricanes can't still take place, though, after Nov. 30.
"Tropical storms and hurricanes can strike the U.S. during below-normal seasons," said Bell. "We have already seen this … when Arthur made landfall in North Carolina as a category-2 hurricane. We urge everyone to remain prepared and be on alert throughout the season."
As of Aug. 7, the National Hurricane Center predicted that there's a 70 percent likelihood that less than two major hurricanes will take shape in the Atlantic, which are storms that are Category 3 or higher. Between three and six hurricanes will form during 2014 overall, and perhaps as many as 12 named storms. Thus far, Arthur and Bertha are the only named storms to have formed.
Two hurricanes hit Hawaii
Meanwhile, what's been a fairly quiet season in the Atlantic has been busy in the Pacific. Back-to-back balls of moisture in Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio recently brought high winds and rainfall to the Hawaiian islands.
Robert Hartwig, president and economist for the Insurance Information Institute, indicated that while few hurricanes affect Hawaii, the ones to occur there have been damaging.
"Hurricane Iniki caused about $1.6 billion in insured losses when it struck Hawaii in 1992 so there is historical precedent for what we're seeing this week in the eastern Pacific," he said.
In terms of insured losses, Hartwig noted that Iniki was the third costliest hurricane to hit the U.S in recorded history, with the first being Hurricane Katrina, which roared ashore along the Gulf Coast in 2005.