HOUSTON — September is about halfway through this year’s hurricane season, and so far the seas have been calm.
Every so often, the Atlantic produces a storm strong enough to shutter offshore oil and natural gas production and, if large enough, impact refining and transportation along the Gulf Coast. That hasn’t happened this year, and it looks unlikely thanks to an El Niño in the Pacific, which tends to prevent larger storms from forming, according a report by meteorologists at financial services firm Citi.
The hurricane season runs from early June through November, and usually peaks from mid-August through late October. This year’s season started early when Tropical Storm Ana struck South Carolina in May, but has been quiet since. No major hurricanes have formed.
At the beginning of the season, Citi’s meteorologists predicted 11 storms would become large enough to be named this year, versus the historical median of 12 named storms. The firm predicted six tropical storms and five hurricanes, with only one hurricane expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico. Their forecast was in line with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s prediction, which called for between six and 11 named storms, three through six hurricanes and as many as two major hurricanes.
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