Hurray hurray... let there be much rejoicing for here we are, at the end of yet another Atlantic Hurricane Season! :-) I've got my mason jar of wine and a couple of small blocks of cheese... all I need to find is the ice cream scoop. :-)
Although the final official tally was 13 named storms of which two were hurricanes (no major), in my opinion I think the count should have been 10 named storms, of which only one was a (non-major) hurricane. The last storm this season was definitely not a Tropical (or Subtropical) Storm but by an amazing coincidence the naming of this system did allow NOAA to reach their minimum forecast for the season (of 13 - 20 named storms). Hmm.
It looks like the early season European predictions were lower, and therefore closer, than the US predictions turned out to be, although they were still a bit higher for the number of hurricanes. There is more than one culprit for this discrepancy between forecast and reality... I know a lot are blaming the 'unpredictable' dry air, but I think the forecasts still don't fully (accurately) account for the impact the ocean has or the Saharan Air Layer (i.e. dust, which has zero calories, so you can eat as much dust as you like ;-) (Little Britain)). I would be a happy bunny if everyone stopped putting numbers on the season when we clearly don't understand quite what's going on!
Although we had a blissfully quiet season over here, the other ocean basins haven't had such a smooth ride. The Eastern/Central Pacific season, which also ended today, was forecast to have a quiet season but ended up with 20 named storms of which 9 were hurricanes. However, the two biggest storm stories this year (so far) took place in the Indian and West Pacific Oceans. In October the beautifully formed Cat 5 storm, Cyclone Phailin, in the Indian Ocean made landfall in eastern India. Over 500,000 people were evacuated and, amazingly, only 44 deaths were reported. The other big storm story was in the Western Pacific Ocean which (so far) has had 31 named storms, of which 13 are Typhoons (wind speed >74 mph) and 5 have been Super Typhoons (wind speed > 120 mph). Just about 3 weeks ago, Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the Philippines directly as a cat 5 storm (cat 5 range >156 mph) with winds estimated to be between 160 - 196 mph at landfall (wind speed has yet to be confirmed), resulting in over 5,600 deaths. Eugh! Very sad. Sigh. Hopefully that will be the worst of it for this year - in all ocean basins!
As I wrap up, no season would be complete without my annual award breaking Oscar thank you speech. :-) I'd like to thank Doug M. at CMS/USF (www.marine.usf.edu) in Florida for helping with the listserv, to Chris H. in Georgia and Ben A., for help with the website. I'd also like to thank the NHC for their hard work and for giving me something to rant about. Keep up the good work folks. ;-)
I also thank my family and friends for keeping me supplied with wine, cheese and other such essentials of life and for their continued futile attempts to keep me sane. ;-) I especially thank my husband, Ben Alpi, for being understanding of the evenings and weekends I've spent ignoring him as I work on my 'hobby' (and of course, right on cue, he just said (apparently with mock drama) "you're not done yet?!?" ;-)).
Last, but most definitely not least, I thank YOU! The best and most intelligent readers ever. :-) Thank you for reading and for sending me jokes, photos, on the ground reports, comments, and questions. Thanks for telling your friends about my fabulously hilarious, witty, informative, accurate, and entertaining writings. The blog website currently has 67, 526 hits... that's 23, 976 hits since last year, with only 53 new updates this year!! :-)
I think I have squirreled away all the acorns, so now it is time for me to hibernate
Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.