The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from 1st June to 30th November 2018. With the season less than two (2) months away, the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, reminds residents to begin to take the necessary preparedness measures early to ensure that their homes, businesses and families remains in a state of readiness. The 2017 Hurricane Season – with the passage of Harvey, Irma and Maria – reminds us how devastating and destructive storms can be and how important it is to be prepared.
According to the latest preliminary predictions, by hurricane researchers at the Colorado State University (CSU) on Thursday 5th April, 2018, the Atlantic Hurricane Season will be slightly above-average this year. The experts have cited a “relatively low likelihood of significant El Niño” conditions as a main contributing factor.
In total, the CSU team predicts there will be fourteen (14) named storms; seven (7) predicated to become hurricanes and three (3) predicted to reach major hurricane strength (Category 3 or above).
They explained that the development of El Nino patterns are likely to make a difference this season. Meteorologists Philip Klotz Bach and Michael Bell at CSU said, “El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.”
As a result, CSU hurricane researchers believe this season’s activity will be approximately 135 percent of the average season. Last year’s hurricane activity – which included major storms such as Harvey, Irma and Maria – was two and a half times greater than average. To develop hurricane forecasts, CSU used 60 years of data; referencing sea surface temperatures, vertical wind shear levels, sea level pressures, El Niño conditions and other factors.
While the CSU team said their predictions provide “a best estimate” of what to expect, coastal residents should take precautions to protect themselves.
Lookout for further updates from CSU on 31st May, 2nd July and 2nd August 2018.
2018 Atlantic Tropical Storm/Hurricane Names
What is El Niño and La Niña?
El Niño and La Niña are opposite phases of what is known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. The ENSO cycle is a scientific term that describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific (approximately between the International Date Line and 120 degrees West).
La Niña is sometimes referred to as the cold phase of ENSO and El Niño as the warm phase of ENSO. These deviations from normal surface temperatures can have large-scale impacts not only on ocean processes, but also on global weather and climate.
El Niño and La Niña episodes typically last nine (9) to twelve (12) months, however some prolonged events may last for years. While their frequency can be quite irregular, El Niño and La Niña events occur on average every two (2) to seven (7) years. Typically, El Niño occurs more frequently than La Niña.