Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 Hurricane Seasonal Forecast

Hurricane season is here. It runs through the end of October. If you haven't taken the steps to prepare, the time has come to do so. I know we've been extremely lucky over the last 9 years without a direct impact, but that could change at any time.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we may see a 10th year without hurricane activity, but the odds are against us.
By the numbers:
  • Florida's SE coast averages 1 hurricane strike just about every 4 years.
  • According to NOAA, since 1851, South Florida has been hit by 41 hurricanes with 15 of those being a major system, category 3 and above. They add that the longest stretch since 1885 without a direct hit, was the period between 1951 and 1959. That's 9 hurricane free years... the same as our present hurricane drought.

2015 Seasonal Forecast
NOAA is calling for a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). While a below-normal season is likely (70 percent), there is also 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.

Now keep in mind these are just projections. There could be 40 hurricanes out in the Atlantic basin and if none make landfall... who would complain. However, it only takes one. Andrew arrived in a low season forecast year, with el Niño conditions and it practically leveled Deep Southern Miami-Dade County.
So prepare as if we will get hit and you will be ready for whatever Mother Nature sends our way.

Why this below average forecast?:
NOAA suggests "El Niño" which is a warming of the Equatorial waters of the Pacific , will cause hostile conditions in the Atlantic for hurricanes to grow.

You see, "El Niño, doesn't just affect marine currents but atmospheric ones as well.

This will lead to rain in areas typically with a dry climate, and the opposite in those with a wet seasonal regime.

The reason why its called "El Niño" is because it was discovered by Peruvian fishermen who noticed the warmer waters happening around Christmas time, so they named it after the Christ child or "El Niño" which means the boy child.

What can we expect?
"El Niño" will cause some strong upper level winds to race into the Atlantic cutting off the tops of any system that tries to develop. Even with this chainsaw in the atmosphere, systems can grow enough to overcome this hostile environment and grow.

NWS says,  "El Niño" will influence large-scale weather patterns which affect summer rainfall across South Florida.

Although it’s important to note that not every El Niño event has the same effects on Florida’s weather, the tendency from past El Niño events is for near to slightly-below normal summer rainfall across southern Florida.

During many El Niño summers, southern Florida sits on the northern edge of the climatologically-favored Caribbean dry summer regime, with some years extending more into Florida and other years remaining south of the state.

The most likely range for this wet season’s rainfall compared to normal is from 75% to 95% of normal, with a few areas likely to see higher or lower ratios.

How strong is "El Niño" so far:
Take a peek at the sea-surface temps already in the Pacific Ocean. Some areas are in the upper 80°s.

What next?

All we can do is wait and see what the season brings. The bottom line is GET READY.  A hurricane will never take you by surprise, unlike an earthquake which can happen at anytime without notice or a tornado which may give us a 5 minute window, you will get bored of seeing me on TV letting you one is on the way, so there is time to prepare and take action.

We will air a 1 hour hurricane preparedness special "Surviving a Storm", at 8 pm Friday May 29th. For you who have lived here all your lives, it will be a handy reminder of what to do in case a storm threatens. For you who have recently moved here, its "Must See" television. It will get you ready for the season ahead.

As always I will update you through this Blog, on our Hurricane App, my Facebook page as well as WSVN's Facebook, Twitter, our Hurricane Hotline and as needed with Live updates through Periscope.   I wish everyone of you a safe hurricane season.

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