Coastal Carolina University releases hurricane outlook for 2014

Storm outlook chart

The Hurricane Genesis & Outlook (HUGO) Project at Coastal Carolina University anticipates a “below to near normal” hurricane season for 2014, according to its extended range forecast for the North Atlantic.

According to the HUGO outlook (detailed in the table below), the most likely scenario is that no hurricanes will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast or on the Gulf Coast during the 2014 hurricane season (June 1 to Nov. 30); the second most likely scenario is that one hurricane will make landfall on the East Coast, and one hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast.

The outlook, which was tabulated in April 2014, also predicts that there will be a range of nine to 11 (with 10 most likely) tropical storms, three to six (with five most likely) hurricanes and one to two (with one most likely) major hurricanes this season. Updated outlooks will be released during the hurricane season in June, July and August 2014.

The HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program is a unique hurricane model system developed by scientists at Coastal Carolina University and unveiled in 2013. The new model differs from most other hurricane prediction instruments in that it offers landfall probability information. In addition to the seasonal outlook, the model system will predict the track and intensity of any incoming hurricane five days away from landfall.

The HUGO hurricane seasonal outlook model is based on calculations of 22 climatological factors encompassing oceanic, atmospheric and shoreline activity. The model also considers detailed statistical data from previous Atlantic hurricanes going back to 1950, a methodology that has produced highly accurate track predictions in hindcasting tests conducted by the team at CCU. The HUGO team has made a major advance in computing a key factor, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index, which calculates the kinetic energy of storms based on peak wind values.

Also, because the HUGO model system provides specific data on probable storm surge and inundation as a hurricane approaches, including time, location and statistical representations of expected water depth along the coastline, it is expected to have special relevance for emergency management officials in their logistical planning in the event of evacuations.

HUGO outlook reports are updated periodically during the season as new data becomes available from NOAA and other organizations.

The model was developed by a group of climatological scholars of international standing led by Len Pietrafesa, former chair of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board and of the National Hurricane Center External Advisory Panel and now a Burroughs & Chapin Scholar on the faculty of CCU’s School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science (SCMSS). Other members of the CCU team are Shaowu Bao, a computational, deterministic numerical modeler specializing in meteorology and oceanography and a professor in SCMSS at CCU; Tingzhuang Yan, a meteorological oceanographer with a background in statistical modeling of climate and weather systems and a Burroughs & Chapin Research Scholar in SCMSS at CCU; and Paul Gayes, longtime CCU professor and director of SCMSS.

For more information about CCU’s HUGO Project, contact Pietrafesa at (843) 349-4017 or (704) 910-7047 or e-mail lpietraf [at] coastal [dot] edu. Visit the website at bcmw.coastal.edu.

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