The WSJ Numbers "Guy":
Hurricane season is officially underway.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014’s hurricane season will likely be near or below average. The NOAA predicts three to six hurricanes will form in the North Atlantic this season.
However, the NOAA’s May outlooks are not always accurate. In the past decade, the agency has been correct four times. See more about the predictions, including August updates here.
This is from an old (2005) Numbers Guy post on hurricane forecasts (the good ol' days when the numbers guy was a guy):
But my examination of forecasters' records over the past six years -- the period in which all four groups have been publicizing their predictions before the hurricane season begins -- shows that none do much better than a simple five-year average, a number that can be derived without expertise in climatology or statistics (more on this in a moment). Furthermore, despite all the press they generate, these forecasts aren't very useful to insurance companies, emergency planners and others who you might think would crave them. Researchers are recognizing this and moving away from the headline numbers to more complex forecasts that attempt to better capture hurricane season's impact.
Based on the five year moving average and the numbers in the graph I'm predicting 3 to 11 storms this year (the five year moving average +/- one standard deviation).