The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will be remembered for being mostly quiet, just as predicted, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday in its year-end wrap-up.
NOAA had forecast eight to 13 named storms just before the start of the season in May. Mid-season, in August, they revised that down to seven to 12 storms. As of Monday, six days before the official close of the season on Sunday, the Atlantic had churned up just eight named storms, including six hurricanes. Only two of those strengthened to major storms with winds exceeding 111 mph.
None struck Florida, bumping up the storm-free streak for the nation’s most hurricane-prone state to nine seasons in a row. Only one storm, Arthur, the season’s first, made landfall in the United States when it hit North Carolina on July 4 with sustained winds of 100 mph.
The season’s biggest storm, Gonzalo, grew to a Category 4 storm on Oct. 15, with winds that peaked at 145 mph. The storm stayed far from the U.S., instead battering islands from the Lesser Antilles to Bermuda and on to the United Kingdom, where three people died from storm-related injuries.
Forecasters attributed the slow season to record-high upper level winds and a slow monsoon season off the west coast of Africa, where many Atlantic storms are born.
“We know that’s not always going to be the case,” Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said in a statement. “The ‘off season’ between now and the start of next year’s hurricane season is the best time for communities to refine their response plans and for businesses and individuals to make sure they’re prepared for any potential storm.”