NOAA has just released their final summary of the 2014 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean (link to storm summaries). It shows that the season was below average in activity, as expected, and that not a single storm hit the US mainland this year except a brush by Arthur on the North Carolina Outer Banks. Since tropical activity is one of the main sources of moisture in the Southeast in the summer, it’s no wonder that dry conditions developed in parts of the region last year.
What will the 2015 season bring? No one has released their forecast yet, but what we get will depend on the status of El Nino. Generally in El Nino years we get less tropical activity, since strong winds aloft “blow the top off” developing systems. If we get the opposite, La Nina, tropical storms are more likely. The IRI plume I discussed yesterday is leaning towards a weak El Nino, but it’s really too early to say.