MIAMI – Unless you lived on the outer banks of North Carolina during Hurricane Arthur, the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has been remarkably inactive. One measure of seasonal hurricane activity is Accumulated Cyclone Energy -- a robust parameter that accounts for the number of tropical storms and hurricanes, their intensity and duration.
The current 2014 ACE value was 36 as of Wednesday. The normal year to date ACE value is 75. That means that the Atlantic Basin has seen less than half the normal amount of activity so far.
Looking back at the satellite era, I see that most of the inactive years still have some tropical or subtropical cyclones during October and November -- last year is an example.
The year 2013 had a low ACE value for the entire year, yet still produced three tropical storms in October, one tropical storm in November and even one subtropical storm in December.
The year 1994 also had extremely low ACE, yet that year produced two hurricanes in November. One of those hurricanes -- over the open Atlantic -- was the strongest of that year. And then there was Tropical Storm Gordon that impacted Jamaica, Hispaniola, Cuba and the Bahamas before the center moved over the lower Florida Keys, then the southwest Florida coast near Fort Myers before exiting Florida near Vero Beach and becoming a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.
The heavy rains over Haiti led to disastrous floods and mud slides resulting in more than 1,100 deaths in Haiti alone. In Florida, Gordon directly caused eight deaths and an estimated $275 million in agricultural losses.
Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next five days, but let's remember that the season is not over.