Hurricane season's reluctant to begin
MIAMI —The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which forecasters had predicted would be more active than normal, has turned out to be something of a dud so far as an unusual calm hangs over the tropics.
As the season heads into the historic peak for activity, it may even enter the record books as marking the quietest start to any Atlantic hurricane season in decades.
“It certainly looks like pretty much of a forecast bust,” said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at the Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com).
“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,” Masters said.
With records going back to 1851, Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, said there had been only 17 years when the first Atlantic hurricane formed after Sept. 4.
The all-time record was set in 1905, he said, when the first hurricane materialized on Oct. 8.
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.
Since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, Feltgen said, the latest date for the first hurricane to arrive was set by Gustav when it made its debut on Sept. 11, 2002.
If this year's first hurricane comes anytime after 8 a.m. Wednesday, it would replace Gustav as the modern-day record holder, Feltgen said.
Seven named storms have been spawned by the 2013 season so far, including Fernand, which killed 13 people in central Mexico late last month.
Most of the storms have been small, weak systems, however.
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