NOAA issued an update to their forecast for tropical storm activity this past week. The new forecast shows a 70 percent chance of below normal activity this year, a 20 percent chance of near normal, and only a 5 percent chance of an above normal season. Part of this forecast reflects the very quiet conditions we have seen so far this year. Even if storm activity picks up, it will be hard to get near or above normal activity for the season as a whole under this year’s conditions. However, the period from mid-August to late September is the peak of the hurricane season, so there is plenty of time for tropical storms to develop. Things that are preventing storms from developing so far this year have been cooler than normal ocean waters, wind shear that has kept vertical development of tropical storms from occurring in regions where some tropical waves traversed, and some mild-El Nino like conditions which have also inhibited storm development. A new tropical wave is just entering the Atlantic Ocean from off the coast of African, so we may have more action soon, though, so keep watching here and other forecasting outlets for updates. One web site I like is www.spaghettimodels.com, which is run by a dedicated amateur hurricane watcher and combines forecasts and other information from many sources in one convenient place.