The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season wraps up Sunday
with 8 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. With just 8 named storms this is the fewest number of named storms since 1997. In an average Atlantic season there are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, so there was a below average number of named storms but
the number of hurricanes was in line with climatology. Forecasts by NOAA and Dr. Gray and his colleagues at Colorado State were accurate in 2014. El Niño did not develop this hurricane season but conditions featured El Niño characteristics like cooler than normal Atlantic water temperatures at times, extended stretches of enhanced wind shear and dry sinking air. This year’s ACE or Accumulated Cyclone Energy of 66 was relatively low based on the below average 8 named storms. ACE measures the total energy output of all tropical systems during the entire hurricane season. Meanwhile in the east Pacific there are 22 named storms, a record 16 hurricanes and 9 major hurricanes. This is the most active east Pacific hurricane season since 1992.
It was a slow start. The odds of a transition to El Niño were high leading up to the season. Upper level winds were hostile in the Caribbean in June and water temperatures were slow to warm (as it typically the case in a favorable El Niño year). The first named storm, Arthur, formed in the southwest Atlantic on July 1st one week behind schedule. Despite delayed named storm formation Arthur strengthened over the Gulf Stream and became the first hurricane of 2014 on July 3rd. The first hurricane in the Atlantic typically doesn’t form until August 10th. Arthur officially made landfall between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, North Carolina as a category two hurricane with 100 mph winds. It is the first category two hurricane to strike the U.S. since Hurricane Ike in 2008. 2014 is the 9th year in a row a major hurricane did not make landfall in the U.S. (the last one was Wilma in 2005). Hurricane Arthur is also just one of a handful of hurricane to hit North Carolina in July since 1851.
Wind shear values were especially hostile in the Caribbean in July and August too. An active Saharan Air Layer halted Cape Verde Season. Much of this dry, stable air mass lingered in the Caribbean too. The first healthy Cape Verde disturbance, Tropical Depression Two, only survived a few days in the south central Atlantic in late July.It dissipated before it reached the Lesser Antilles. Despite a ragged structure Bertha became the second hurricane of the season on August 4th east of the Bahamas. Tropical waves really struggled in the eastern Atlantic with dry air but late in August the third named storm and third hurricane of the 2014 season, Cristobal, organized between the Lesser Antilles and Africa. It became the third hurricane of 2014 on August 25th. Cristobal drenched Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos and the central and southeast Bahamas.
Only two named storms formed in September-Dolly and
Edouard. This puts September 2014 as the second least active September since 1995 (in September 1997 there was just one named storm-Hurricane Erika). Dolly brought catastrophic flooding to Tampico Mexico in early September. Edouard became first major hurricane of 2014 on
September 16th over the open Atlantic. It is the first major
hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since Sandy in October 2012.
Two strong storms affected Bermuda in October. The sixth named storm of season, Fay, skirt Bermuda with 70 mph winds on October 12th. Fay briefly became the 5th Atlantic hurricane in 2014 before it was absorbed by cold front. Gonzalo is the 6th and strongest hurricane in 2014. It maxed out as a category 4 hurricane on October 15th with winds of 145 mph. This is the first category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic since Ophelia in 2011. Fortunately it weakened to category two strength before a direct hit in Bermuda on October 17th but the storm still brought strong storm surge, heavy rain and wind. Gonzalo also brushed Newfoundland and the remnants brought intense winds to the United Kingdom. Hanna is the last named storms of 2014 and it came as a surprise. The 8th named storm also formed over one month past the climatological norm on September 24th. Just hours after the National Hurricane Center issued a low chance of tropical cyclone development Tropical Depression 8 reformed in the extreme western Caribbean. Tropical Storm Hanna made landfall between Nicaragua and Honduras on October 27th. No named storms formed in November.
There are just 8 days remaining in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane. The month of November has been uneventful and it will likely wrap up with no named storms. That puts the official 2014 total at 8 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. The last named storm, Hanna, dissipated in late October over Central America. While November storms are rare (only 5% of named storms typically form this month) late November storms are even rarer. Since 1851 only 16 named storms formed in the Atlantic Basin from November 21-30. The minimal storms that did form originated mainly in the western Caribbean and open Atlantic. This map is courtesy Google Earth.
The western Caribbean has been exceptional dry this month. That’s the case Saturday morning. Water vapor imagery shows a huge batch of dry air in the western Caribbean and another batch over the western Atlantic behind a frontal boundary. The only feature of note is a weak upper drifting west over the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.
Upper level winds have also been hostile with active fronts this month. Tropical cyclone development is nearly impossible over the Gulf and west Atlantic with high wind shear values Saturday. The only area with favorable upper level winds is the southwest Caribbean. There is a bone dry air mass in this region of the Caribbean squashing chances of even any/much convection.
As we fast forward to Friday of the upcoming work week upper level winds stay hostile behind yet another strong front. Wind shear values stay low in the southwest Caribbean but not of our reliable computer models hint at tropical development.
The long-range reliable Euro model shows no areas of tropical concern through the end of the month/end of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
With only 11 days left in the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, all remains quiet in the Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean. While we typically see 5% of our season’s named storms in the month of November, we’ve yet to see any activity this month and that doesn’t look to change. Historically, if we did see something, the area we’d look into would be the western Caribbean into the Northwest Atlantic.
A look at the enhanced satellite imagery for this region shows an area of showers and storms on the southern flank of a stalled out cold front. However, as that front washes out over the coming days, nothing is expected to develop out of those storms. The NHC is not highlighting any other region in the Atlantic for development in the next 5 days.
The big reason for lack of development this month and likely through the rest of the season is higher than average wind shear in the basin. With several fronts having now extended deep into the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic, wind shear has been high and thus, prevents disturbances from organizing tropically. This looks to be the case into this weekend. The image below shows that even though wind shear looks to remain low over the southwestern portion of the Caribbean, it will be very high elsewhere.
The GFS model doesn’t show any development across the Atlantic, Gulf, or Caribbean in the next week. In fact, it reinforces the area with dry, sinking air thanks to high pressure by the middle of the next week.
Meanwhile, the record-breaking east Pacific season continues. A large area of clouds and storms is trying to spin up about 500 miles southwest of the Southwest Mexican coastline. Conditions seem favorable for some gradual development of this disturbance over the next several days. The National Hurricane Center is giving this system a 30% chance to develop in the coming days.
With just over two weeks remaining in the 2014 Atlantic season there are no signs of tropical development on the horizon. Even long-range computers keep the Atlantic Basin quiet into the last week of November. Water temperatures are cooling, wind shear values are moderate to high with an active frontal pattern, and the western Caribbean has been consistently dry in recent weeks. Enhanced satellite imagery shows just one small pocket of disorganized convection associated with a surface trough between Central America and Jamaica. The last named storm was in late October. Tropical Storm Hanna dissipated over Central America on October 28th.
It’s not uncommon for the last month of the Atlantic hurricane season to be
uneventful. It’s typically the quietest month in the 6 month season with
only 5% of named storms. Looking back from 2008-2013 four of the last six years saw just one named storm in November. The 2014 season is likely to wrap up with 8 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. This is a below average hurricane season. Climatologically 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes form each Atlantic season.
A new work week begins and it looks like another extended stretch of tranquil conditions is expected in the Atlantic Basin. There are no tropical waves and the only feature of note is a frontal system along with a developing surface low east of Florida. Wind shear values sit a high 40-60 kts+ and this low stands no chance of gaining any tropical characteristics as it drifts north and east over Atlantic waters in the coming days.
Moisture is lack there of in the Gulf and western and extreme eastern Caribbean. Water vapor imagery shows very minimal convection with plenty of dry air in place.
Water temperatures are still favorable for tropical cyclone development in the Caribbean. Climatologically lows spin up in the western Caribbean and are guided north and east into the open Atlantic by troughs. Buoy data shows water temperatures are still in the low to mid 80s in this region.
Despite favorable Caribbean water temperatures an active frontal pattern squashes the chances for tropical depression development for possibly the next week or more. This is often the case in mid November and only 5% of named storms form during the last month of the season. The European model shows no signs of tropical organization through at least next Sunday night. The 2014 Atlantic season officially ends on November 30th.
The first week of the last month of the 2014 Atlantic season wraps up on a quiet note. The only feature we’re watching Saturday is in the eastern Caribbean. The combination of an upper low near Hispaniola and a surface trough stir up convection/squalls over the Lesser Antilles. This convection is widely scattered and upper level winds do not favor tropical development. Nonetheless heavy downpours are expected in the Lesser Antilles through the weekend.
A surface low and upper level energy bring a spell of showers and a few embedded thunderstorms to central Florida late Saturday and Sunday. Notice the instability/moisture on water vapor imagery in the north central Gulf. Water vapor imagery also shows a bone dry air mass in the western Caribbean where late season tropical lows often spin up. Between wind shear enhanced by lingering fronts/troughs and pockets of dry air no tropical cyclone development is expected for the next 5 days+.
Former Super Typhoon Nuri churns over the Bering Sea early Saturday. The massive now non tropical area of low pressure is practically the size of Alaska. It grew in size as pressure dramatically deepened into early Saturday morning. Pressure bottomed out in the Bering Sea a record low 924 millibars (according to analysis by the Ocean Prediction Center) early Saturday. Officially, this could challenge the previous record low pressure recorded. According to the Ocean Prediction Center the last storm of this magnitude to move through the Bering Sea was measured at 925 mb at Dutch Harbor in October 1977. The second graphic below analyzes this feature courtesy of the Ocean Prediction Center. The intense area of low pressure “spin itself out” as it wobbles east in the coming days. This brings an extended period of strong wind to Alaska and tremendous surf to the Aleutian Islands.
The non tropical low is so strong that it will induce a strong ridge on the west coast and bring above average temperatures to the region. This in turn will cause the jet stream to dive far south into the eastern 2/3 of the U.S. mid-late work week. This upper level pattern brings unseasonable cold temperatures to many locations along and east of the Rockies. This could be the first of many cold snaps in the coming weeks.
Tropical Depression Vance made landfall in west Mexico early Wednesday morning with heavy rain and some high swells. The storm continues to weaken – it previously went from hurricane to tropical depression in 24 hours. Despite the trend, the moisture from Vance still poses a threat to much of western and central Mexico, as well as the southern United States, via a cold front.
Moisture will be ample across the Southern United States over the next few days. The Weather Prediction Center has zoned in on the southern half of Texas to pick up 1.5-3″+ over the next few days from the remnants of Vance.
Meanwhile in the Atlantic, an upper level low combined with a surface trough are bringing squalls from the Northeast Caribbean into the Atlantic. Pockets of heavy rain are possible across the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic over the next couple days from this disturbance as it drifts northeastward over the open Atlantic.
It’s not uncommon for tropical/subtropical disturbances to spin up on the tail end of fronts this time of the year. In fact, a look at the climatology for the month of November shows this area as a breeding ground for tropical activity.
Having said that, chances are fairly slim for this disturbance to become tropical/subtropical in nature in the coming days. The big factor against development is the amount of wind shear in the area. As of Wednesday afternoon, wind shear was a moderate 20-30 kts out of the southwest (picture courtesy University of Wisconsin).
If this disturbance has any chance of development, it would have to get its act together fairly quickly in this marginal environment. While wind shear is dropping immediately to the west of it, those values pick right back up later this week in the wake of another strong front (shear tendency map below courtesy University of Wisconsin). The National Hurricane Center is giving this disturbance a 20% chance to develop into a subtropical system in the next couple of days. Regardless, the aforementioned front will safely guide this area of disturbed weather away from the Mainland US.
The first few days of November have been pretty much uneventful in the Atlantic Basin, as is often the case this time of year. Since late last work week a few computer models hinted that low pressure could spin up at the tail end of an old frontal boundary in the Atlantic. We are starting to seen signs of that possibility Tuesday afternoon northeast of Hispaniola and just north of Puerto Rico (enhancing heavy downpours). Right now it’s just an area of disturbed weather drifting north-northeast over Atlantic waters. Convection is widely scattered and disorganized Tuesday. There is only a small window for a developing area of low pressure to gain some tropical characteristics (become a brief subtropical system) before it combines with yet another trough/frontal boundary on Friday. Officially the odds of brief subtropical development sit at a low 10% by Thursday afternoon and only 10% over the next five days.
Dry air sits just west and south of the area of disturbed weather near Hispaniola and Puerto Rico and halts development in the short-term. The bigger obstacle will be in the increase in upper level winds (wind shear) late work week in the wake of a strong cold front. As of Tuesday afternoon southwest wind shear values are moderate at 20-30 kts. These values will drop off a bit briefly for a short 48 hr+ period. During this time a subtropical low may briefly spin up.
The GFS wind shear forecast shows lower wind shear Thursday afternoon and a weak area of low pressure forms northeast of the Bahamas. Regardless of brief low pressure development with the exception of squalls near Bermuda there are no other land threats. This possible disturbance combines with a strong front Friday into the weekend and accelerates out the sea.
In the eastern Pacific Vance is no longer a hurricane but it brings a heavy rain threat to west Mexico into late work week. The 22nd named storm in the east Pacific struggles with hostile upper level winds. The storm will continue to weaken before landfall in southwest Mexico Wednesday. As of 1 PM EST max sustained winds top out at 70 mph and Vance moves north-northeast at 13 mph.
Tropical Storm Vance could bring 4-8″ of rain to western Mexico through Wednesday. Isolated areas could pick up even higher amounts. The GFS model suggests 2-5″ is possible in the region through Friday afternoon. This slug of tropical moisture in conjunction with a cold front will bring heavy rain from southern Texas up through Louisiana. Up to 3″+ are possible in this area through Friday afternoon (per the GFS model).The Weather Prediction Center is in line with this forecast too.
The last month of the Atlantic hurricane season starts Saturday. Typically only 5% of named storms form during November making it the least active month of the season. By November water temperatures continue to cool and active fronts/trough stir up wind shear in the Gulf, Caribbean and Atlantic. Storms that do form in November tend to organize the southwest Caribbean and lift northeast by troughs into the open central Atlantic. While November named storms are rare, they do occur. In fact, since 1850 72 named storms form in November, most in the western Caribbean or open west or central Atlantic. The graphic below is courtesy Google Earth.
As of November 1st here’s where the numbers stand in 2014. There are 8 named storms, 6 of which are hurricanes with 2 major hurricanes. Most recently, Hurricane Fay, major Hurricane Gonzalo, and briefly Tropical Storm Hanna formed in the Atlantic Basin in October.
November starts on a quiet note in the Atlantic Basin. Invest 95L lost its battle with hostile level winds. A few pockets of deep convection sit well north of the Caribbean Islands and east of the Bahamas. Remnant moisture will dissipate as wind shear increases in the wake of yet another front. A tropical wave stirs up convection east of the Lesser Antilles. With dry air in the vicinity and moderate to high wind shear in its path the odds of further organization are low as the tropical wave drifts northwest.
Models like the GFS and the Euro suggest that weak low pressure may spin up a the tail end of a stalled frontal boundary late work week near the Bahamas. Below is the 06Z GFS model at 11 AM Thursday. The low would be capable of taking on at least some characteristics as it drifts north-northeast (if it can survive strong wind shear). We’ll keep you posted.
Former Invest 95L has been struggling mightily in the Atlantic waters. While temperatures have been on the warmer side, wind shear remains high over the region. Enhanced satellite imagery shows a very disorganized area of showers and storms.
A westerly wind shear of 20-30 kts continues to batter this disturbance. And that wind shear is expected to increase to near 50kts as a trough moves off the eastern seaboard early next week. Hence, development of this disturbance is not expected.
Meanwhile, the extremely active East Pacific season continues. Tropical Storm Vance has formed off the southwest coast of Mexico. While it is currently fighting some drier air and moderate wind shear, it is expected to become the 14th hurricane of the East Pacific season (average is 8) as it tracks parallel to the Mexican coastline this weekend into early next week.
By the middle of the week, a trough looks to shear Vance apart as it moves over Mexico. That trough will also pick up the moisture from the storm and move it northeastward into Texas for Wednesday and Thursday.
With only one month left in the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season, things will likely continue to wind down. We only see typically 5% of named storms forming in the month of November. Having said that, we’ll have to continue being vigilant for any storms out there. In fact, the GFS does bring lower pressure toward the Bahamas late next week so we will watch this closely.