The midpoint of the six-month hurricane season passed on Sept. 1, and the Atlantic Ocean has yet to see its first hurricane.
That's happened only six times since 1950.
Gabrielle, the seventh named tropical system of the 2013 season, is now just a tropical rainstorm as it passes Puerto Rico on its way northward into the central Atlantic.
Forecasters have predicted an above-average hurricane season for 2013.
A respected team led by Colorado State University professor Dr. William Gray predicted 18 named storms for the hurricane season, nine of them hurricanes and four major hurricanes (category three or higher).
Storms receive a name when they reach tropical storm status, meaning they pack 39 mph sustained winds and retain tropical characteristics. They become hurricanes when sustained winds reach 74 mph. Category three hurricanes have sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.
Hurricane forecasters said the absence of an El Niño event (a warming of ocean water off the west coast of South America) is one of many factors that leads them to believe 2013 will be ripe for hurricanes.
But in the first three months of hurricane season, predictions have talked more about the dust, dry air and wind shear inhibiting the development of tropical storms in their breeding grounds near the coast of Africa.
On Friday, several tropical waves were being tracked in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. But only one — just emerging off the African coast — showed signs favorable for significant development. The unnamed system could strengthen by early next week.
Aside from the heavy rain dumped by the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea in early June, Ocean City has not seen rain, wind or waves from a tropical system in 2013. But the arrival of Superstorm Sandy late in the 2012 hurricane season (Oct. 29, 2012) is still fresh in the memories of all Jersey Shore residents, a reminder that hurricane season does not end until Nov. 30.