The 2013 Atlantic storm season has been milder than expected so far. Only eight named storms have formed by the season's midpoint. The latest -- Humberto -- is the first hurricane to form.
Researchers at North Carolina State University had forecasted as many as 17 named storms with up to 10 hurricanes. Lian Xie teaches atmospheric sciences at NC State and is part of the team that put out the prediction earlier this year. He says at least one of the conditions that leads to storm development IS present.
"Warm water is there. That's not an issue," Xie says. "Whether we actually had an overall stronger vertical wind shear..that's a good question I guess. Some other people are speculating on maybe the air from Africa may be drier than normal."
Xie cautions mid- to late-September is historically the peak of the season when most hurricanes form and strengthen quickly. Hurricane season runs through the end of November.