2013 Atlantic hurricane season's dire predictions were a dud

8:38 AM, Nov 12, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- The 2013 hurricane season was forecast to be one of the busiest on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 13 to 20 named storms to develop this season, with 11 of them reaching hurricane strength (winds of at least 74 mph). 

But so far, the hurricane season has not lived up to expectations.
"We're going to tie for the 4th quietest hurricane season in the last 70 years," said Daniel Noah, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Ruskin.

So far this season, there have been 11 named storms, but only two of them have developed into hurricanes.

What caused predictions to be so off this year compared to previous hurricane seasons?

"We had more wind shear than we thought we were going to have," said Noah.

He points to higher than normal winds that kept storms from developing into hurricanes. 

Tropical systems often develop off the coast of Africa, which is also home to the Sahara.

"What they didn't forecast is the blooms of dust blowing of the Saharan desert."

Dust from the desert also affects the development of storms off the coast.

"I think this shines a huge light on where research dollars need to go and where models need to get better to be able to look at that and predict it better," said 10 News Chief Meteorologist Jim Van Fleet.

While technology continues to get better at forecasting storms days before they become a threat to land, they are still only predictions.

"So we say to people, you know, don't get too excited about the long range forecast. Prepare for one storm each year and go about your business," said Noah.