Atlantic hurricane season - a record-breaking dud?
"Virtually all the (forecast) groups were calling for above-normal hurricanes and intensive hurricanes and we haven't even had a hurricane at all, with the season half over," he said.
In an average season the first hurricane shows up by Aug. 10, usually followed by a second hurricane on Aug. 28 and the first major hurricane by Sept. 4.
If this year's first hurricane comes anytime after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, it would replace Gustav as the modern-day record holder, Feltgen said.
Most of the storms have been small, weak systems, however, proving an embarrassment to experts who had predicted an active season in reports that are eagerly awaited by the insurance and energy industries as well as many coastal homeowners.
Colorado State University slightly lowered its seasonal forecast on Aug. 2. But it still said 2013 would see above-average activity, with eight hurricanes and three that develop into major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale.
The jury is still out on what exactly has put such a damper this year over the Atlantic basin and the Caribbean, where tens of millions of people live in hurricane danger zones.
He noted that dry air, from Africa as well as rarely mentioned flows associated with an extreme drought in northeast Brazil, may be a factor "helping to shut down this year's hurricane season."
The first hurricane in 2001, Erin, only formed on Sept. 9, Feltgen said. "That season ended with 15 named storms including nine hurricanes, four of which became major hurricanes."
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