By Maui Now Staff
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an “above-normal” hurricane season with 5 to 8 tropical cyclones expected to affect the Central Pacific this season. That’s more than the average season of 4 to 5 tropical cyclones in a typical year, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.
In a press conference today, officials with NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the outlook for 2015 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.”
Forecasters say that climate conditions “point to an above-normal hurricane season” in the Central Pacific Basin this year.
The outlook is based upon the expectation of El Niño continuing and possibly strengthening as the hurricane season progresses. According to the CPHC, El Niño conditions decrease the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, favoring the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. The El Niño conditions also favor more westward-tracking storms from the eastern Pacific into the central Pacific. “This combination typically leads to an above-normal Central Pacific hurricane season,” forecasters said.
Hawaiʻi residents are urged to be prepared for the season which begins on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, 2015, by signing up for weather alerts, developing and practicing family emergency plans, and building an emergency kit before the season begins.
Tom Evans, acting director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center said, “Now is the time to make sure that you and your family are ready and prepared for the 2015 hurricane season.”
The seasonal hurricane outlook is produced in collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.