The long-range forecasts for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season were for a very active year. It turned out to be anything but active, with only two hurricanes, no major hurricanes, and the lowest overall tropical cyclone energy since 1983. There were the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982. It is the sixth-least-active season since 1950 in terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy – a measure of the strength and duration of named storms. Even the NOAA hurricane hunters had a leisurely year, flying only 45 missions totaling 435 hours – the fewest number of flight hours since 1966.
Conditions remained unfavorable for development and/or intensification throughout the year. Gerry Bell, Ph.D., the lead seasonal forecaster at NOAA, offered this explanation:
“This unexpectedly low activity is linked to an unpredictable atmospheric pattern that prevented the growth of storms by producing exceptionally dry, sinking air and strong vertical wind shear in much of the main hurricane formation region, which spans the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea,” said Bell. “Also detrimental to some tropical cyclones this year were several strong outbreaks of dry and stable air that originated over Africa.”