Cancun, Mexico — June officially launches the beginning of hurricane season in the state of Quintana Roo, along the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
As Mexico’s residents and tourists continue to enjoy the sun and sand, some are aware of the newly arrived season.
Meterologists are predicting a quiet hurricane season for 2015 in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
While experts say there will be storms this year, there won’t be very many. According to NOAA’s 2015 hurricane forecast for Mexico, which was released May 27, they are predicting a 70 percent chance of six to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes and zero to two major hurricanes. NOAA says an average hurricane season has 12 named tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
In that event, the names of Atlantic hurricanes would be Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.
They also say there is a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.
“A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew – a Category 5 Major Hurricane that devastated South Florida.
“The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“El Niño may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season. We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.”
Jeffrey Medlin, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Mobile says forecasters are already seeing the effects of El Nino.
“There is no doubt — we’re coming more under the influence of El Nino,” Medlin said.
“I’ve seen in the last 30 days, although I realize it’s not hurricane season, we’re seeing a flow pattern in the wind and the pressure fields that is showing us that El Nino is really taking hold.”
He warns that El Nino won’t snuff out every storm this year so it’s important to be ready just in case.