Near-normal’ hurricane season expected
Scientists have predicted a “near-normal” hurricane season this year with the Pacific El Niño counterbalancing warmer Atlantic waters.
The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Centre said that the Atlantic would experience between nine and 15 named storms, of which between four and eight are expected to reach hurricane strength.
Between two and four of the hurricanes could become major.
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes and three become major hurricanes.
A CPA spokeswoman said: “This outlook reflects competing climate factors. The ongoing El Niño is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season.
“Countering El Niño is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favour increased hurricane activity.”
The preseason forecast was released on Thursday.
NOAA also said this year would be the first the organisation was able to use three new “next generation” satellites, which would help create better forecast models.
James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “It does not matter what the seasonal forecast is, whether it is expected to be active or inactive. It only takes one tropical system to make it an active season for Bermuda.
“Businesses and the community should be prepared for a possible significant tropical impact each and every year.”
The BWS will team up with the Emergency Measures Organisation to host Hurricane Preparedness Week from June 3 to June 7.
The 2019 hurricane season starts on June 1, but the Atlantic has already experienced its first storm with subtropical storm Andrea, which formed southeast of Bermuda earlier this week before it weakened to a subtropical depression.
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