By Wendy Osher
The Central Pacific Hurricane Center released its 2011 tropical season outlook today, forecasting below normal activity with 2 to 4 cyclones this year.
The outlook comes as the state gears up for Hurricane Preparedness Week in Hawaii which runs from May 22-28, 2011.
Specialists at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center worked collaboratively with a team from the Climate Prediction Center on the East Coast to produce the outlook.
The 2011 forecast for the Central Pacific calls for a 70% chance of a below-normal season, a 20% chance for a near-normal season, and a 5% chance for an above-normal season.
During a typical season in the Central Pacific, experts say there are 4 to 5 tropical cyclones annually. Forecasters say the basis for the outlook is that the Central Pacific and Eastern Pacific remain in a relatively low-activity area, and have been since 1995.
Forecasters say they expect near-neutral conditions for El Nino and La Nina. These conditions combined with a predicted continuation of cooler than normal sea surface temperatures, in the Eastern and Central Pacific near the equator, would also favor reduced activity, according to CPHC authorities.
Based on all of the factors, forecasters predict there will be 2 to 4 tropical cyclones in the Central North Pacific this year, which is below the average 4 to 5 systems that the agency typically sees.
Forecasters from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center stressed that the outlook is strictly an outlook for overall hurricane activity and is not a predictor of if, when, or of how many of the systems may impact the state.
“Regardless of whether the outlook calls for two tropical cyclones or 10 tropical cyclones, we have to prepare the same way every year,” said CPHC authorities at today’s press conference.
There will be six workshops across the state, with the first to take place on Maui on June 4, 2011. The workshop will include information on what to include in emergency supply kits, preparing evacuation plans, and information on retrofitting homes to make them stronger for future events.