The tropical cyclone forecast team from Colorado State University, led by Klotzbach & Gray, has increased its forecast for the 2014 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season, citing slower than expected development of El Niño and a warmer Atlantic.
Klotzbach & Gray’s April forecast called for the development of 9 named tropical storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane during the 2014 season. The April forecast also called for accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of 55, a measure of cyclone energy expected during the season.
The latest update to the forecast, which the team published yesterday, has increased the numbers slightly calling for 10 named tropical storm, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane to form in 2014. The forecast for accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) has also been increased to 65.
The slight difference in forecasts could, of course, make a huge difference to the insurance, reinsurance and catastrophe bond industry, as just one landfalling hurricane can erode profits very rapidly. However the forecast remains below the long-term averages, but the increase should be noted as the forecasters say that conditions for storm development are more conducive than they expected to see.
The forecasters say that the tropical Atlantic remains slightly cooler than normal, while El Niño is still in the process of developing, hence the below average forecast for hurricane activity. However, explaining the reason for the increase in the forecast since April, Klotzbach & Gray note that the transition to El Niño has slowed in recent weeks and the tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed.
Perhaps more alarming for reinsurers and the catastrophe bond market is the fact that the forecasters have also increased their landfall probability predictions as well.
In April the forecasters gave a 35% chance for a major hurricane of category 3 or greater hitting the U.S. coastline. For the U.S. east coast including Florida the probability of a major hurricane making landfall was forecast at 20%. The Gulf Coast probability of a major hurricane landfall was 19%. The probability of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean was 28%.
Now at their June update the forecasters have increased these probabilities slightly. The chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S. coastline is now put at 40%. The chance of a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. east coast or peninsula Florida is put at 22%. The chance of a gulf coast landfall has been upped to 23%. Finally, the chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean is now put at 32%.
These landfall probabilities remain below the long-term averages but the increase is worth noting as alongside anomalous warming of the Atlantic the chances of hurricane impacts which could affect reinsurers or catastrophe bonds have risen.
Our average forecast for the 2014 hurricane season, taken from a number of the world’s pre-eminent forecasters, now calls for 10.7 named tropical storms, 4.7 hurricanes and 1.6 major hurricanes during the 2014 season.
You can track the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, compare forecasts and monitor the progress of storms as they develop here on Artemis. Visit and bookmark our 2014 Atlantic hurricane season page.