Hurricane season may be busier than expected due to weak El Nino

Katie Ramirez
August 9, 2019

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said now that the El Nino has ended, it means wind patterns and other environmental conditions are more favorable for developing storms.

NOAA does not offer predictions on storm landfall, like where hurricanes or tropical storms may hit or how strong they'll be when they do.

'Armed with our next-generation satellites, sophisticated weather models, hurricane hunter aircraft, and the expertise of our forecasters, we are prepared to keep communities informed to help save lives and livelihoods'.

Today NOAA raised the likelihood of an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in a forecast update. The best example of the latter scenario in our part of the world is the 1992 hurricane season.

It has been predicted that the Atlantic Basin will see between 10 to 17 named storms, meaning tropical systems that are producing winds 39 miles per hour or greater.

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Whether or not a hurricane actually makes landfall is primarily determined by short-term weather patterns - which can only be predicted within around a week of the storm potentially reaching a coastline. The previous outlook from May had forecast a 30% chance of an above-normal season. Two storms have been named so far in 2019. A major hurricane is one that produces winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, which is at least category 3 hurricane.

It is important, he added, 'that if state and local authorities announce evacuations in advance of a storm, you and your family will have planned where to go and what to do to stay safe'.

"More active Atlantic hurricane seasons are generally characterised by lower shear, more moisture and warmer sea surface temperatures, so current conditions in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean present mixed signals for the remainder of the season".

El Niño has abated since then, making for conditions that increase the likelihood of hurricanes forming, forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said in a statement issued as the hurricane season enters its peak months.

To highlight the dangers associated with hurricanes, including storm surge and flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Ready Campaign and its federal partners released high-quality videos that show the unsafe threat from tropical weather.

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