Can you believe that hurricane season 2012 is just three months away in the Caribbean!? We know that it’s too early to think about that, but considering that we live six months out of the year under hurricane surveillance, it’s a significant part of living in the Caribbean. The good news is that businesses and homeowners are being given early indicators that this season should not be excessively fierce.
The National Hurricane Center’s new director, Bill Read, said last week that they expect an average season, with 12 tropical systems, and around 6 becoming hurricanes, in contrast with last year’s busy season in which there were 19 storms. Bill Read attributed this likelihood to the fact that sea surface temperatures is forecast to be cooler this year than in 2011.
The hurricane season officially starts in the Caribbean and Atlantic on June 1 and ends on November 30 and the National Hurricane Center is expected to issue a more comprehensive forecast during the second half of May.
On average, the Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season brings 12.1 tropical storms, with 6.4 of those strengthening into hurricanes. The region is still in the midst of a multi-decade busy period, and 2011 saw 19 tropical storms, with seven growing into hurricanes, including three major ones.
Weather Services International, a private weather forecaster, also released an early pre-season forecast in December predicting a relatively tame 2012 season with a total of 12 named storms and seven hurricanes.
Bill Read has mentions that he was looking forward to the day when science had improved to the point where forecasters could reliably issue forecasts showing where a hurricane would be a week ahead of time.
“We’re two to five years from a seven-day forecast,” Read said, but admitted that the Hurricane Center, which now issues five-day forecasts on the giant storms, did not want to issue a seven-day forecast until there is greater confidence in the predictions.