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Hurricane Outlook 2015 – El Nino Could Make for Below Average Season

Today, Monday, June 1, 2015, marks the start of the 2015 hurricane season. Projections from the more reputable organizations that produce hurricane seasonal outlooks indicate that a below average to near average activity is likely this season. In terms of named systems the range runs from as low as 6 to a high of 11 named systems. The average number of named systems for the 1981 to 2010 period is 12. The range for hurricane activity predicted for 2015 lies between 3 and 6. These reflect values at and below the average of 6 hurricanes. Outlooks on intense hurricane activity (category 3, 4 and 5) indicate between 1 and 2 major hurricanes. The average number of major hurricanes is 2.

The predictions for an average season can be attributed to two factors. Firstly the El Niño phenomenon which is the abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean, usually has a suppressing effect on tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin. That phenomenon has a high probability of developing and reaching moderate intensities during this season. Secondly, the source of energy for tropical cyclones is the warm ocean temperatures. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea are also forecast to be just about average.

The numbers as indicated in the seasonal outlooks do not tell the full story. Seasonal outlooks do not tell where the tropical cyclones could make landfall or the number of hits any one particular location could experience.

The National Meteorological Service of Belize alerts it is worthwhile to note that regardless of the activity predicted in the seasonal outlooks it takes only one system to create a disaster. Such disasters can happen whether the season is very active or relatively quiet Therefore the same level of preparation is required for this 2015 season as would be done if the forecasts called for an active season. It is being emphasized as per normal proper planning and preparations are the keys to preserving life and property.

During the past off-season the National Meteorological Service has continued in its quest to be ever more prepared for any eventuality. The Service has been performing “in-house” testing of the regional Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model and plans to make the products publically available soon.

The WRF has been modified to focus directly over Belize. This model will be able to resolve and forecast weather systems within 9 to 10 mile distances as opposed to the resolution of 18 to 20 miles presently received from the global models being used operationally. This development will greatly improve on the forecasting capabilities of the National Meteorological Service. In addition, the network of observation stations is being retrofitted with automatic weather stations capable of providing near real-time weather information to forecasters.

Atlantic Season 2015 Hurricane Names:

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