Hurricane season destroys forecasts

Hurricanes have popped up in November, but with three weeks to go in the Atlantic Basin season, we are ready to conclude that it has been a tough one for the long-range forecasters.

So far, here is the official tally for tropical storms in the basin, which consists of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Atlantic:

Total number of named storms, with winds of at least 39 m.p.h. – 12

Hurricanes, winds of at least 74 m.p.h.  – 2.

 Major hurricanes, winds of 111 m.p.h. or more – 0.

The “normal” numbers in the above categories, according to the National Hurricane Center  – 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 majors.

So how did the forecasters fare?

In terms of named tropical storms, not bad. As you see, those numbers were above normal, and we’ll give the forecasters credit for being in the ballpark, although even those were overestimated. So much for the positives.

Here is a summary of four of the major preseason outlooks:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration --13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 hurricanes, 3 to 6 majors.

AccuWeather – 16, 8, 4.

WSI Corp. – 16, 9, 5.

Colorado State University – 16, 9, 4.

The numbers aside, the season has been unusually gentle. Not since 1982 has the basin had so few hurricanes.

This also has marked the eighth consecutive season without a major hurricane hitting the U.S. Coast, and the eight straight season without a strike of any kind on Florida.

Both are records, and may the luck continue.

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