HONOLULU – Weather forecasters predict an above-normal hurricane season in the Central Pacific Basin this year, and are expecting 5 to 8 tropical cyclones to affect the region.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center issued its 2015 Central Pacific hurricane outlook at a news conference in Honolulu on Tuesday. NOAA urged Hawaii residents to be fully prepared before the hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs until November 30th.
The outlook for the season calls for a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and a 5% chance of a below-normal season. An average season has 4-5 tropical cyclones. That number includes tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Meteorologists believe El Nino will increase the number of storms to an amount above normal.
This outlook is based upon the expectation of El Niño continuing and possibly strengthening as the hurricane season progresses. El Niño decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, favoring the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. El Niño also favors more westward-tracking storms from the eastern Pacific into the central Pacific. This combination typically leads to an above-normal Central Pacific hurricane season.
This outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity in the central Pacific basin and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will affect Hawaii.
NOAA media release
Last year, Hurricane Iselle made landfall on Hawaii Island as a tropical storm. The effects were especially felt in Puna, where winds toppled thousands of trees and took out power lines. Storm surge also did a number on Kapoho, which spent months digging out of the mess.
“I encourage everyone to become weather-ready by signing up for weather alerts, developing and practicing a family emergency plan, and building an emergency kit before hurricane season begins,” said Tom Evans, acting director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Now is the time to make sure that you and your family are ready and prepared for the 2015 hurricane season, which starts June 1st.”