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Expect 'Less Active' 2014 Hurricane Season, Researchers Say

Atlantic could see one to three major hurricanes, university scientists say.

Fairfax County Police assist Huntington residents during flooding. Patch archive photo by James Cullum
Fairfax County Police assist Huntington residents during flooding. Patch archive photo by James Cullum

The official start of hurricane season is less than two months away, on June 1. Although there were no hurricanes in 2013, Northern Virginia has gotten walloped in the past.

In 2003, 16 people died in the metro area when Hurricane Isabel hit.

While the National Hurricane Center hasn't come out with their official predictions yet for this season, a group of scientists at a university in North Carolina came out with their forecast today.

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will be less active than in the past 20 years, but still in line with overall averages from 1950 to the present, researchers at North Carolina State University said.

Eight to 11 named storms should form in 2014 in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences (MEAS), and collaborators Dr. Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics, Marcela Alfaro-Cordoba, graduate research assistant in statistics and Bin Liu, research assistant professor in MEAS. 

This number is slightly lower than - but within the margin of error for - the (1950-2013) 63-year average of 10.8 named storms.

Of those named storms, four to six may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and one to three may become major hurricanes.

Xie’s methodology evaluates data from the last 100 years on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form and where they will make landfall.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. For more details concerning Xie’s methodology, input data and predictions, visit the research group’s website at:  http://cfdl.meas.ncsu.edu/research/TCoutlook_2014.html.

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