CCU releases updated hurricane outlook

Published 06/30 2014 11:11AM

Updated 06/30 2014 11:17AM

CONWAY, S.C. – According to its latest update, the HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program at Coastal Carolina University is still anticipating a “below to near normal” hurricane season for 2014.
The latest HUGO outlook, calculated in mid-June and detailed in the table below, varies only slightly from the first outlook released in April. The June outlook predicts that there will be four named hurricanes this season, rather than the five predicted in April.
“Basically, things are holding steady,” says Len Pietrafesa, Burroughs & Chapin Research Scholar at CCU and leader of the HUGO outlook study.

Historical Average
10 (9-11)
10 (8-11)
5 (3-6)
4 (3-6)
1 (1-2)
1 (1-2)
0.16 (0-1)
0.19 (0-1)*
0.38 (0-1)
0.44 (0-1)*

TS = named storms per season; NH = number of hurricanes; MH = major hurricanes (category 3 or higher); ECLF = number of landfall hurricanes on the Atlantic seaboard; GMLF = number of landfall hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast. *The number of landfalls is given as a probability in order of decreasing likelihood in two stages: most likely and second most likely.

According to the outlook, the most likely scenario is that no hurricanes will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast or on the Gulf Coast during the 2014 hurricane season (June 1 to Nov. 30); the second most likely scenario is that one hurricane will make landfall on the East Coast, and one hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast.
The outlook predicts that there will be a range of eight to 11 (with 10 most likely) tropical storms, three to six (with four most likely) hurricanes and one to two (with one most likely) major hurricanes this season. Updated outlooks will be released during the hurricane season in July and August 2014.
The HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program is a unique hurricane model system developed by scientists at Coastal Carolina University and unveiled in 2013. The new model differs from most other hurricane prediction instruments in that it offers landfall probability information. In addition to the seasonal outlook, the model system will predict the track and intensity of any incoming hurricane five days away from landfall.

The HUGO hurricane seasonal outlook model is based on calculations of 22 climatological factors encompassing oceanic, atmospheric and shoreline activity. The model also considers detailed statistical data from previous Atlantic hurricanes going back to 1950, a methodology that has produced highly accurate track predictions in hindcasting tests conducted by the team at CCU. The HUGO team has made a major advance in computing a key factor, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index, which calculates the kinetic energy of storms based on peak wind values.

The model was developed by a group of climatological scholars of international standing led by Pietrafesa, former chair of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board and of the National Hurricane Center External Advisory Panel and now a Burroughs & Chapin Scholar on the faculty of CCU’s School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science (SCMSS). Other members of the CCU team are Shaowu Bao, a computational, deterministic numerical modeler specializing in meteorology and oceanography and a professor in SCMSS at CCU; Tingzhuang Yan, a meteorological oceanographer with a background in statistical modeling of climate and weather systems and a Burroughs & Chapin Research Scholar in SCMSS at CCU; and Paul Gayes, longtime CCU professor and director of SCMSS.

For more information about CCU’s HUGO Project, contact Pietrafesa at 843-349-4017 or 704-910-7047 or email The HUGO Project website is at

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