NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center today announced that climate conditions point to an 80 percent chance of a near- or above-normal hurricane season in the Central Pacific basin this year.
For 2017, the outlook calls for a 70 percent percent probability of 5 to 8 tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. An average season produces 4 to 5 tropical cyclones.
"As a Florida resident, I am particularly proud of the important work NOAA does in weather forecasting and hurricane prediction," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "These forecasts are important for both public safety and business planning, and are a crucial function of the federal government."
El Nino decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, which favors the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. El Nino also favors more westward-tracking storms from the eastern Pacific into the central Pacific.
“This outlook reflects the possible transition to a weak El Nino during the hurricane season, along with near- or above-average ocean temperatures in the main hurricane formation region, and near- or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that area,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. Bell added, “If El Nino develops, it may become strong enough to produce an above-normal season.”
The Central Pacific basin may also be shifting toward a longer-term period of increased tropical cyclone activity, in response to changes in global sea surface temperatures patterns in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean which historically last anywhere from 25 to 40 years.
This outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity in the central Pacific basin and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will affect Hawaii. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs until November 30.
"The 2017 hurricane season marks 25 years since Hurricane Iniki, which brought life-changing impacts that have lasted more than a generation," said Chris Brenchley, director of NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center. "Considering the devastation we saw from Iniki, as well as the more recent impacts from Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Darby, make sure you and your family are prepared for hurricane season. Become weather-ready by signing up for weather alerts, developing and practicing a family emergency plan and restocking your emergency kit before hurricane season begins."
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners. This array of data supplies the information for complex computer modeling and human expertise that serves as the basis for the hurricane center’s track and intensity forecasts that extend out five days. The seasonal hurricane outlook is produced in collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
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