Experts suggest weaker hurricane season for 2014
Early forecasts are suggesting a weaker than average hurricane season this year, but the Bermuda Weather Service warned that even a single storm could be significant for Bermuda.
While the season doesn't start until June, US based Weather Services International this week released their early outlook for the year.
According to their estimates, the Atlantic will experience around 11 named storms including five hurricanes — two of which are predicted to reach Category 3 status.
On average, the Atlantic hurricane season records 12 named storm, six of which reach hurricane strength. Of those six, three typically reach Category 3.
The report cited cooler than usual water surface temperatures off the Western coast of Africa and the potential of El Nino conditions, which disrupt the development of hurricanes by creating vertical wind shear.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecast a 50 percent chance that El Nino develops this year,
However deputy director of the Bermuda Weather Service James Dodgson said it is still early to make useful predictions about the coming season.
He explained that the service tends to follow the National Weather Centre's official forecast, which is released near the end of May when more data is available.
He noted that the dryness and stability of the air off the coast of Africa also plays a factor.
Dust and sand blown off the Sahara tends to stabilise the atmosphere, deterring the formation of storms, but that phenomenon is not well forecast months in advance.
“There are some indicators ‘currently' suggesting a slightly less active than average season ahead,” Mr Dodgson said. “However, some of the factors could change before the season begins.
“This is why many in the business of Hurricane Season forecasting issue updates closer to the start of the season, and indeed during the season itself.”
He also warned that even a slow season could be devastating for the Island, adding: “It only takes one significant tropical storm or hurricane to make it a busy season for Bermuda.”