Blame it on El Nino

Climate conditions point to a near-normal or above-normal season in the Central Pacific Basin this year, thanks to the influence of El Niño, weather officials said Wednesday.

“Since 1995 the central Pacific has been in an era of low activity for hurricanes, but this pattern will be offset in 2014 by the impacts of El Niño,” a release said.

For 2014, the outlook calls for a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 40 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season. 

“We expect four to seven tropical cyclones to affect the central Pacific this season. An average season has four to five tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes,” said a Wednesday press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

This outlook is based upon the expectation of El Niño developing during the 2014 hurricane season.

El Niño decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, favoring the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. 

NOAA issued its Central Pacific hurricane outlook at a news conference in Honolulu, and urged Hawaii residents to be fully prepared before the hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs until Nov. 30.

“I encourage the public to become weather-ready by signing up for weather alerts, developing a family emergency plan and building an emergency kit before hurricane season begins,” said Tom Evans, acting director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Now is the time to make sure that you and your family are ready and prepared for the 2014 hurricane season.”

The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity in the central Pacific and does not predict whether, where, when, or how many of these systems will affect Hawaii.

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