The United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on Saturday with the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982 and ranked as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950.
Belize was spared from storms and scares, while our neighbor Mexico experienced three Atlantic storms. Although we were spared the country did receive abundant rainfall from tropical weather, probably one of the wettest rainy seasons. Rain started as early as June and the last few months we were drenched and caused much flooding inland.
The Belize Meteorology Service announced that the rainfall figures for August through to November, and was way above average. Government has not put an economic cost to the rain-damages as assessments are ongoing but there are critical losses to agriculture, road infrastructure, and community resources.
According to lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the US National Weather Service, Dr. Gerry Bell, a combination of conditions acted to offset several climate patterns that historically have produced active hurricane seasons. As a result, there was no large numbers of hurricanes that typically accompany these climate patterns.
NOAA said 13 named storms formed in the Atlantic basin this year. Two, Ingrid and Humberto, became hurricanes, but neither became major hurricanes. It said although the number of named storms was above the average of 12, the numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes were “well below” their averages of six and three, respectively. Major hurricanes are categories 3 and above.
“This unexpectedly low activity is linked to an unpredictable atmospheric pattern that prevented the growth of storms by producing exceptionally dry, sinking air and strong vertical wind shear in much of the main hurricane formation region, which spans the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Also detrimental to some tropical cyclones this year were several strong outbreaks of dry and stable air that originated over Africa,” Bell said.
NOAA said it will issue its 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook in late May, prior to the start of the season on June 1.