Below average start to 'above average' season

By Blake Mathews - Meteorologist
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - We've heard it time and time again: "It's going to be another very active hurricane season this year.''

While we sit and wait -- and wait -- for the onslaught of tropical activity, one can't help but wonder the validity of such a prognostication.

The classification of a season is not based on the numbers alone, but by the accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), which takes into account longevity and strength. By this time of year in the Atlantic Ocean, we should have an ACE of 24. Currently, we're at 8.0575 according to Dr. Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics.

The Atlantic basin isn't the only ocean to see below normal activity. In fact, the entire globe is seeing a record lull in hurricanes/typhoons. The normal global ACE, year to date, is 396. We're currently at 240.2850.

While the month of September can harbor surprises and tricks unknown even to Houdini, the rest of the season will have to be extremely busy with strong hurricanes to meet the much publicized hysteria of a bad season ahead.

With the end of August in sight, 2013 has yet to give birth to a hurricane. The last time the month of August went without a hurricane was 11 years ago in 2002, when our first hurricane, Gustav, didn't form until September 11 -- the latest first hurricane on record.

The models are indicating that things may soon pop. The Madden-Julian Oscellation (MJO), basically an easterly moving global wave of high and low pressure, will become favorable over the Atlantic at the prime of the season.

Its been almost eight years since the United States has experienced the full fury of a devastating hurricane. Intuitively we can conclude that time is running out. It may be this year, maybe not.

Chief meteorologist John Gaughan and I have been monitoring the arctic (which recently just recorded its coldest summer on record) the past few months. The models are showing that the cold fronts are already starting to dig into the United States. These fronts often act as a broom to sweep these storms out to sea. While we are entering the most vulnerable part of the season, here's to hoping we go another year without seeing any significant impacts.

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