If Coastal Carolina University officials are correct, there will be only one hurricane, if any, to make landfall on the East Coast or in the Gulf of Mexico this year, according to a forecast released Tuesday.
The prediction forecasts a “below to near normal” season for 2014, which begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Officials offered two scenarios for the season in addition to predicting the formation of nine to 11 tropical storms with three to six of those growing to hurricanes and one or two major hurricanes.
In the first CCU prediction scenario, officials said no hurricanes are expected to make landfall on the East Coast or in the Gulf of Mexico, while in the second scenario one hurricane could make landfall along the East Coast and in the Gulf.
It is the second year that CCU officials have released a prediction forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also issues hurricane season predictions and its forecast is expected later this month.
Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach spokesman, said residents should be vigilant about being prepared for the season no matter the forecast.
“I hope they’re correct, but that’s one of those let’s wait and see. … Hurricane season starts in a couple of weeks and we need to be prepared in the event we have a hurricane this summer or this fall,” Kruea said. “That’s a rosy outlook, but we need to take precautions as usual. Have your hurricane kit and know what your evacuation plan is and get your documents together and be prepared for the worst just in case their crystal ball is cloudy.”
The Hurricane Genesis & Outlook (HUGO) Project at Coastal Carolina University began last year and officials expect to issue updates in June, July and August. The project was named after the Category 4 storm that devoured much of the Grand Strand’s coast in 1989.
Last year, Len Pietrafesa, the head of the research team making the forecasts, said their computer models are used to predict how many storms will form during a season and how likely it is one of those storms will make landfall along the coast or in the gulf. In their inaugural season, CCU officials predicted one storm would make landfall with possibly two during the season.
No major hurricanes made landfall during the 2013 season and only tropical storms impacted land in the U.S.
The model also predicts the track and intensity of hurricanes that are five days from making landfall, officials said. The model uses statistical storm data from 1950 and the calculations are based on 22 factors that include oceanic and atmospheric activity as well as shoreline development.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.