June 1 marks the beginning of meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which is considered to be the months of June, July, and August. At the same time, June 1 also marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts for six months and officially ends on November 30. Of course, Mother Nature does not abide by the rules, so it isn’t unusual to see storms develop in the month of May or into December. Although NOAA is predicting a near-normal to below-normal season in the Atlantic, it does not mean you should let your guard down. It only takes one storm to make the season memorable.
Curious to see the upcoming names for the 2014 season? How many storms do you think will receive a name? Tropical cyclones receive a name when they reach tropical storm status, or have sustained winds of 39 miles per hour (mph) or greater.
While NOAA is predicting fewer storms across the Atlantic thanks to a developing El Niño, the eastern Pacific is expected to see an increase in activity.
Last week, we definitely saw activity ramp up quickly across the Eastern Pacific as a tropical storm quickly became a major hurricane and was named Amanda. Amanda became the strongest May tropical cyclone to ever form in the Eastern Pacific. The storm rapidly intensified into a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph. Fortunately, the storm developed over open waters and eventually dissipated before making a Mexico landfall. Could this be a sign that the Eastern Pacific will be active and the Atlantic showing below normal activity? Possibly. But you cannot jump to conclusions on just one storm. Only time will tell!
Bottom line: The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season has officially begun! If the NOAA outlook is correct, we could see below-average activity across the Atlantic. Of course, we strongly urge you to take precautions now and be ready. It only takes one storm to cause major problems.
Matt Daniel is Meteorologist for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama. A self-described "big weather and music geek," Matt has a passion for helping to keep people safe when severe weather strikes and says if you don't have a NOAA Weather Radio ... you should get one.