Despite Predictions, Hurricane Season Below Average

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The hurricane season officially comes to an end Thursday.

The season turned out to be much more tranquil than originally thought, despite predictions for an eventful 2006.

"The agencies that make the forecast were saying, 'we're going to have 15 named storms, we're going to have 17 named storms,'" said Courtney Schumacher, an assistant professor for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M.

That, however, did not turn out to be the case.

Two key factors contributed to a relatively quiet hurricane season: El Nino and the dry air from Africa.

"The biggest one of them is El Nino," said Schumacher. "That's when you have warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean, and for a certain reason, that affects the winds in the Atlantic. And there was a very late breaking El Nino. In August, the sea surface temperatures warmed dramatically and quickly, and nobody foresaw this."

This season did not go storm free, however. There were nine named storms, five of which were hurricanes.

"You usually get six hurricanes in a season, three of them major," said Schumacher. "We had five hurricanes. Two of those were major hurricanes, so it was just a slightly-below-normal season."

Schumacher commented that we have had a very busy past decade, and since 1995, have been faced with very active storms systems. Despite the fact this year's hurricane season fell slightly below the norm, it followed a pattern of other slightly uneventful years.

"The only other years that we haven't reached the number were El Nino years since 1995," said Schumacher.

After an eventful 2005 hurricane season, many people were ready for the much needed break the 2006 season offered.