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2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Predictions: A Look Ahead



Expert predictions about the Atlantic hurricane season for 2014 were mostly accurate. So what are the projections for 2015? It’s time for Interstate Restoration’s annual look-forward-and-back at Atlantic hurricane predictions from leading scientists and meteorologists.

While last year’s season was relatively uneventful, questions related to the likely strength of a developing El Niño are complicating hurricane forecasts for this year. Read on for more about what to expect during the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season (June 1 – November 30).

What’s in Store for 2015?

According to Tropic Storm Risk (TSR), a group of leading forecasters, risk and insurance agencies, 2015 Atlantic basic hurricane season activity will likely be 20 percent below the long-term average. Don’t breathe easy yet though. A number of different scenarios could occur—one of which could result in 4 – 5 major hurricanes, according to the well-regarded Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project.

Let’s take a closer look at the predictions and numbers.  

TSR, whose forecast model between 2005 and 2014 is a top performer, is predicting up to 13 tropical storms, six hurricanes, and two intense hurricanes. At the same time, TSR notes that early predictions are always tricky and that changes in wind patterns could change the outlook. TSR uses a measure called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index (ACE), which is “a measure of total wind energy for basin and landfalling tropical cyclone activity,” to calculate likely overall activity and damage. The average ACE index over 65 years is 102 and TSR set the initial 2015 calculation at 79 and notes the probability the Ace index could be above at or below normal as follows:
  • Below normal: 44%
  • Near normal: 32%
  • Above average: 24%
TSR’s predictions are in line with the Tropical Meteorology Project, which focuses on qualitative rather than quantitative early hurricane forecasts. The Tropical Meteorology Project notes that wind and ocean patterns for 2015 are still developing, and has provided the probability for four possible scenarios
  • 12-15 named storms, 7-9 hurricanes, 3-4 major hurricanes: 40%
  • 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, 1-2 major hurricanes: 40%
  • 14 -17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, and 4-5 major hurricanes: 10%
  • 5-7 named storms, 2-3 hurricanes, 0-1 major hurricane: 10%
A Look Back at the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season

For most of the Atlantic region, the 2014 hurricane season was one of the most quiet in 17 years. In May 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 8 – 13 named storms, 3 – 6 hurricanes, and 0 -2 major hurricanes. At the end of the season on November 30, the actual 2014 numbers were closely in line with predictions:
  • Named storms: 8
  • Hurricanes: 6
  • Major hurricanes: 2
Of the storms that did occur, only Hurricane Arthur made landfall in North Carolina in July. All in all, 2014 continued a nine-year streak of good luck for most of the U.S., which has been missed by 25 hurricanes over the years-long stretch. The Washington Post notes, however, that “an average of 29 percent of all major hurricanes hit the U.S., so the odds of avoiding 25 consecutive storms is about 1-in-5,200.”

Don’t Wait for a Bad Forecast

Here at Interstate, we often see firsthand the destruction that hurricanes and tropical storms can cause businesses and communities. That’s why we are committed to keeping an eye out for potential disasters and keeping business owners informed.

For better or worse, this year’s predictions could go any number of directions, so even if your business and community have had a long stretch of good luck, it’s no time to get complacent. In the Atlantic basin, hurricane preparedness is an essential part of preparedness planning for every business—every year. And we’re standing by to help if you need insights or have questions.


Resources:
http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/
http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2014/dec2014/dec2014.pdf
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20141124_hurricaneseasonwrapup_2014.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/12/01/unprecedented-lull-in-major-hurricane-landfalls-continues-as-atlantic-season-comes-to-a-close/
 

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