With the conclusion of the Tropical Cyclone season for 2019, Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, Directora General of the Comisión Nacional del Agua (Conagua) reports a very active season despite Mexico’s Atlantic coast being impacted by only one storm.
Jiménez Cisneros says that 17 named systems developed in the Pacific and 18 in the Atlantic, being above the 1981-2010 average of 15 and 12 systems, respectively. Of the 35 tropical cyclones, four impacted the coasts of the Mexican Pacific and one in the Gulf of Mexico, none of which were due to major hurricanes (3, 4 and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).
In the Atlantic, this season was the third most active with 18 systems, six above the 1981-2010 average, which is 12. The most active season was that of 2005, which recorded 29 events, detailed Jorge Zavala Hidalgo, General Service Coordinator National Meteorological (SMN) of Conagua.
Tropical Storm Fernand was the first cyclone to hit Mexico and the only one in the Atlantic that touched land. Fernand entered on September 4 in the vicinity of Boca de Catán, 55 kilometers north of La Pesca, Tamaulipas. The storm left a cumulative maximum 24-hour rainfall of 528.0 millimeters at the station Radiosondeo Monterrey, Nuevo León, said Víctor Alcocer Yamanaka, Deputy General Manager of Conagua.
Two other hurricanes of particular importance in the Atlantic basin were Dorian, which reached Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale and impacted with different intensities the Bahamas, North Carolina and Halifax, Canada.
Hurricane Pablo, which developed in the far east and intensified favored by the high sea surface temperatures, weakened to a tropical storm after passing the Azores Islands in the northeast Atlantic. Pablo was the Atlantic’s sixth hurricane of 2019.
The last hurricane to hit the Cancun, Riviera Maya region was Hurricane Wilma (Huracán Wilma) in October of 2005. The Category 5 hurricane was registered as the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, and the second-most intense tropical cyclone recorded in the Western Hemisphere after Hurricane Patricia in 2015.
Wilma began as a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea near Jamaica on October 15 and was declared a hurricane October 18. She it the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 5 on October 20 and move away from the region on October 21, leaving a mass of destruction in her path.
The Yucatán Peninsula, including Cancun and Riviera Maya, have been 14 years without a hurricane. Atlantic hurricane season typically runs June 1 to November 30 when waters are warmest with most hurricanes happening during the Fall.