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Quiet start to home stretch of 2014 hurricane season

Quiet Atlantic tropical weather picture
Quiet Atlantic tropical weather picture
National Hurricane Center

The good news is that the 2014 Hurricane Season has been a quiet one with only three named storms and one minor brush with the U.S. coastline. The bad news is that September and October are traditionally very busy months and even November has been known to produce devastating storms. But there's even more good news: the NOAA has issued an updated outlook which puts the overall chances for a slow season at 70%.

So why has the 2014 season been so slow? According to the NOAA, there are several factors, including cooler-than-usual tropical waters and the possible formation of an El-Niño. Dr. Gerry Bell of NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster explains why the agency released the updated report. “We are more confident that a below-normal season will occur because atmospheric and oceanic conditions that suppress cyclone formation have developed and will persist through the season.”

The current tropical weather picture backs up that optimistic assessment. The only tropical activity is an area of disturbed weather in Mexico's Bay of Campeche which forecasters give a 60% of turning into a tropical depression, or something stronger. However, given it's location several hundred miles south of the Mexico/Texas border, and it's west-northwesterly course, it probably won't have any impact on the U.S.

Of course, veteran storm watchers know all too well, that even the rosiest long-term forecast only provides an broad outline of what to expect. Whether a hurricane season is an active one or a slow one really doesn't matter in the end if you are in the way of a storm. The 1992 hurricane season would probably not be remembered except for Hurricane Andrew. The lesson is clear: there is no room for complacency during hurricane season.