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Atlantic hurricane season officially starts with warning

NEW-hurricaneFrom Caribbean 360

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday June 1, 2016 – Today marks the start of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season and despite predictions of an average hurricane season, residents of the Caribbean are being told there could be more hurricane activity this year than in the past five years.

The caution came from climatologist with the Dominica Meteorologist Service (DMS) Annie Carrette-Joseph, as she presented the Wet/Hurricane Season Outlook for 2016 at a Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) earlier this week.

She said drought condition should alleviate gradually across the region.

The forecast for June, July, August – the first three months of the Atlantic Hurricane Season which ends on November 30 – indicates that there will be a 52 percent chance that El Niña conditions will evolve by August and remain throughout the year.

El Niño and El Niña, the periodic warning and cooling of the water in the equatorial Pacific, cause atmospheric conditions that are favourable for cyclones.

NOAA-hurricane-season-outlook-1Projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center and the Colorado State University (CSU) point to storm activity being average this year.

In April, the climatology team at CSU predicted a total of 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes – close to the long-term average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.

NOAA last week said there was a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). It said while a near-normal season is most likely with a 45 percent chance, there is also a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA hurricane season outlook

Included in the NOAA’s outlook was Hurricane Alex, a pre-season storm that formed over the far eastern Atlantic in January and moved through the Azores before weakening.

Last weekend, Tropical Storm Bonnie became the second named tropical system of the season. But it did not last long as a storm and made landfall in the southeastern US state of South Carolina as a tropical depression.

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