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Hurricane Season Ends With A Whimper


The Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Saturday.

It turned out to be the quietest season since 1995, and it was first time in 19 years that no major storms formed in the Atlantic basin.

This came a surprise to forecasters.

Colorado State University predicted a higher-than average hurricane season. Researcher Paul Klotzbach says they estimated a 37-percent probability of a hurricane making landfall in North Carolina in August.

“We've been doing seasonal hurricane forecasts at Colorado State for 30 years,” says Klotzbach, adding that his team correctly guesses above- or below-average seasons about 75-percent of the time. “This is probably the worst forecast in terms of the overall number precisted-versus-observed that we've ever had.”

Although many climate patterns were in place to create hurricanes, a steady stream of dry air blowing west from Africa suppressed hurricane formation.

Klotzbach says CSU plans to study this season and make a model of it for future reference.

Gerry Bell is lead forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He says the Atlantic basin is in a decades-long period of above-normal hurricane activity, and it doesn’t appear that will change anytime soon.

“I think this year is really a one-off,” says Bell. “We were fortunate that we got a reprieve from many of the above-normal seasons that we've been seeing. But, unfortunately, the patterns that have been producing more activity, there's every indication that they're still in place.

Bell warns coastal residents not to be complacent and to take all hurricane forecasts seriously.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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