WASHINGTON (KXAN) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a calm hurricane season this year, according to a report released on Thursday.
Less frequent and less intense tropical cyclones are side effects of a cycle in the Pacific Ocean dubbed the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) – more commonly shortened to “El Niño”. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems to intensify into tropical storms.
The NOAA forecasts eight to 13 named storms (those with 39 mph winds or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (74 mph winds or higher), including one or two major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher). Normally, the NOAA forecasts 12 names storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The six month hurricane season begins June 1. Click here to read more about the 2014 hurricane season from Meteorologist Natalie Stoll.