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Hurricanes: Another quiet season?

Early outlooks are calling for below-normal hurricane activity this year.

Despite all those forecasts for a dire 2013 hurricane season, it turned out to be one of the most uneventful on record.

This year, coastal residents and property owners should be rooting for the forecasters.

Forecasters at Colorado State University, where this all more-or-less started, and WSI Corp., in New England, are on record as calling for below-normal hurricane numbers for the June 1-Nov. 30, 2014 season in the Atlantic Basin.

Meteorologists are looking at the likelihood of an El Nino – an anomalous warming of surface waters in the tropical Pacific – to develop, and that could have a dampening effect on hurricanes.

During El Nino, the interaction of the warm ocean waters with the overlying air generates strong upper-level winds from the west that can shear off incipient hurricanes.

They also point out that waters in the Atlantic hurricane zone are unusually cool.

The Colorado State forecasters see nine named storms – those with winds of at least 39 m.p.h., developing during the season, with three of those becoming hurricanes, with winds of 74 m.p.h. or greater, and one of those a major hurricane, winds of 111 m.p.h. or more.

The normals are 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three majors.

Last year, only two hurricanes formed, the lowest in 31 years, and marked the first time since 1994 that not a single major hurricane developed in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, it marked the eighth straight season that no major hurricane hit the United States, and none of any strength whacked Florida in that time – both records – according to  Dennis Feltgen at the National Hurricane Center.

Why not go for nine?