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Quiet Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2015


Researchers at Colorado State University have issued a prediction for a well-below-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin in 2015, forecasting seven named storms and just three hurricanes, the university said Thursday.

The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project team further forecast that only one of the three predicted hurricanes would reach major hurricane strength of Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

If accurate, the forecast would be further good news for a property catastrophe insurance and reinsurance sector that has seen relatively benign hurricane losses in both 2013 and 2014.

“A moderate to strong El Niño event as well as anomalous cooling of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic,” was cited by the researchers.

“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Niño event this summer and fall appear to be quite high,” Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the report, said in the statement. “Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions.”

The probability of a major hurricane making landfall is 28% for the entire U.S. coastline and just 15% each for both the East Coast, including the Florida Panhandle, and the Gulf Coast west of the panhandle to Brownsville, Texas.

Thus far, the 2015 season is showing characteristics similar to the 1957, 1987, 1991, 1993 and 2014 hurricane seasons, all of which had below-normal activity, according to Mr. Klotzbach.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.