Atlantic Storms Less This Season Due To El Niño, But Reverse For The Pacific – NOAA

Atlantic Storms Less This Season Due To El Niño, But Reverse For The Pacific – NOAA
Storm Clouds Gathering Zooey / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Storms produced in the Atlantic will be less this season, triggered by a strengthening El Niño and cool ocean temperatures, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday. It is the opposite, however, for the Pacific.


U.S. weather government forecasters said this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will probably only produce six to 11 named storms through Nov. 30. In its 2015 Atlantic hurricane outlook, the agency summed up the scenario in just two words – “below-normal.” Over the past 30 years, the usual average NOAA has forecast falls to 12 named storms annually.

The opposite, however, can be said in the Pacific Ocean. NOAA estimates storms in that part of the world could reach 15 to 22 named storms, definitely “above-normal.” Storms in the area will increase because of the warm, moist conditions, perfect ingredients that incubate hurricanes. Of the total figure, NOAA predicts seven to 12 will become hurricanes, with five to eight as major hurricanes.

Should a strong weather disturbance come out from the Atlantic, government forecasters cannot say it will make landfall or not. But the concern Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator, raised on a conference call with reporters, is the people’s seeming increasing complacency for hurricane preparedness.

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While those ranges and averages are below average, “it doesn’t mean that no pitches can get thrown our way.”

Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecasters at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, said the strengthening El Niño will suppress the potential hurricanes in the peak months, which are August, September and October.

Joe Nimmich, deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reminded people should and must always maintain an emergency preparedness plan.

“What the predictions will give you is a good sense of the risk you face,” he said.