Forecasters are predicting that the 2015 Caribbean hurricane season will be one of the least active since the mid 20th century.
The probability of one hurricane tracking into the Caribbean during the year is 22 percent versus an historical average of 42 percent, climatologists at the University of Colorado said on April 9.
For the Atlantic Basin as a whole, they predict seven named storms and three hurricanes with one hurricane becoming a major category 3, 4 or 5. The predictions are based on an analysis of 29 years of historical data.
The low activity will be the result of cooler than normal temperatures followed by a moderate El Niño event (warmer than normal temperatures).
The predictions include the following with 1981-2010 averages in parentheses followed by the forecast for 2015:
Named Storms (NS) (12.0) 7
Named Storm Days (NSD) (60.1) 30
Hurricanes (H) (6.5) 3
Hurricane Days (HD) (21.3) 10
Major Hurricanes (MH) (2.0) 1
Major Hurricane Days (MHD) (3.9) 0.5
The forecasters also made predictions about Caribbean islands:
For the island of Puerto Rico, the probability of a named storm, hurricane and major hurricane tracking within 50 miles of the island this year is 16%, 7%, and 2%, respectively.
% 1 or More Named Storms Track Within 50 Miles
% 1 or More Hurricanes Track Within 50 Miles
% 1 or More Major Hurricanes Track Within 50 Miles
% 1 or More Named Storms Track Within 100 Miles
% 1 or More Hurricanes Track Within 100 Miles
% 1 or More Major Hurricanes Track Within 100 Miles
"Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early April. ... Our new early April statistical forecast methodology shows strong evidence over 29 past years that significant improvement over climatology can be attained. We would never issue a seasonal hurricane forecast unless we had a statistical model developed over a long hindcast period which showed significant skill over climatology," the forecasters said.
Eight named storms formed in the Caribbean region during the 2014 hurricane season, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Six of the storms turned into hurricanes and two of them developed into major hurricanes.
From 1981 to 2010, the region averaged 12 named storms a year. On average, six of them each year developed into hurricanes and three of those turned into major hurricanes.
As a result, the number of named storms was below average during 2014, but the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes was about average.
The hurricane center also measures accumulated cyclone energy, which is the combined strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes. The 2014 energy level was only about 63 percent of the average from 1981 to 2010.
Max wind (mph)
Tropical depression two
Tropical Storm Dolly
Major hurricane Edouard
Major hurricane Gonzalo
Tropical storm Hanna
November did not have any named storms. On average, a named storm develops during November in seven out of 10 years. In one out of every two years in November, a storm develops into a hurricane.
Hurricane Season Averages
The average Caribbean hurricane season may see as many as 12 to 20 named storms of which six could become hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The annual Caribbean hurricane season always increases the risk of a bad vacation because of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes that roll through the region between June and November every year.
Caribbean climate is especially bad in September and October because those months typically have the highest level of storm and hurricane activity each year.
Cruise ships typically avoid bad weather by steering around it.
Stopover visitors who stay at a destination for up to a week or more have a greater risk of experiencing a storm or hurricane.
But the odds of avoiding them are still good, even during the peak of the season.
Hurricane Season By Month
See average Caribbean temperatures and rainfall by destination in: