NOAA released the annual hurricane season outlook today… here is the release:
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal, but that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.
For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30, NOAA is predicting 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.
“The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “El Niño may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season. We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.”
Included in today’s outlook is Tropical Storm Ana, but its pre-season development is not an indicator of the overall season strength. Ana’s development was typical of pre-season named storms, which often form along frontal boundaries in association with a trough in the jet stream. This method of formation differs from the named storms during the peak of the season, which originate mainly from low-pressure systems moving westward from Africa, and are independent of frontal boundaries and the jet stream.
With the new hurricane season comes a new prototype storm surge watch/warning graphic from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, intended to highlight areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States that have a significant risk of life-threatening inundation by storm surge from a tropical cyclone.
The new graphic will introduce the concept of a watch or warning specific to the storm surge hazard. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone, and it can occur at different times and at different locations from a storm’s hazardous winds. In addition, while most coastal residents can remain in their homes and be safe from a tropical cyclone’s winds, evacuations are often needed to keep people safe from storm surge. Having separate warnings for these two hazards should provide emergency managers, the media, and the general public better guidance on the hazards they face when tropical cyclones threaten.
Also new this season is a higher resolution version (2 km near the storm area) of NOAA’s Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting model (HWRF), thanks to the upgrades to operational computing. A new 40-member HWRF ensemble-based data assimilation system will also be implemented to make better use of aircraft reconnaissance-based Tail Doppler Radar data for improved intensity forecasts. Retrospective testing of 2015 HWRF upgrades demonstrated a five percent improvement in the intensity forecasts compared to last year.
This week, May 24-30, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare, NOAA offers hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements at www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.
“It only takes one hurricane or tropical storm making landfall in your community to significantly disrupt your life,” said FEMA Deputy Administrator Joseph Nimmich. “Everyone should take action now to prepare themselves and their families for hurricanes and powerful storms. Develop a family communications plan, build an emergency supply kit for your home, and take time to learn evacuation routes for your area. Knowing what to do ahead of time can literally save your life and help you bounce back stronger and faster should disaster strike in your area.”
NOAA will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.
The NHC will name assign the name Ana to Invest 90L off the coast of South Carolina at 10 p.m. CDT.
The maximum winds measured by the stepped frequency microwave radiometer on the Air Force plane was 45 mph. The central pressure was 104 mb.
The storm is still a hybrid storm, with subtropical and tropical characteristics. The center is slightly warmer than the surrounding part of the storm. But winds are strongest well away from the center. Some of the strongest winds are very close to the South Carolina coast.
There is still consistent evidence that a subtropical storm could form northwest of the Bahamas by midweek. This subtropical storm could affect the Carolinas and Georgia coastline, but top winds should be less than 50 mph. Gusty winds and rough surf will be the main impact. Sill, it serves as a reminder that the Atlantic Hurricane Season is not far away, beginning June 1.
BILL ON DECK: I get a storm named for me this year! The name Bill has been used for three tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. 2009’s Bill was a Cat 4 Hurricane that passed Bermuda and grazed Nova Scotia. 1997’s Bill threatened Bermuda as well. Seems I have a thing for Bermuda. And TS Bill in 2003 made landfall west of New Orleans.
Here is the list of names for 2015 in the Atlantic:
It is interesting to note that this is the list of names from the 1979 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which was the first to use male names. The following names have been retired from that list (year of retirement in parentheses).
The remnant low from Tropical Depression #9, which formed over the southwestern Caribbean last week and moved across the Yucatan into the northwestern Caribbean has developed into Tropical Storm Hanna this morning.
It is very near the coast of Nicaragua and will move into that country today. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect along the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras.
Top winds are 40 mph. Heavy rains of 10-15 inches will be the main problem with life threatening landslides likely.
We have experienced a little burst of activity in the tropical Atlantic as a cycle called the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is bringing favorable conditions to much of the basin.
Tropical Storm Fay scored a direct hit on the island of Bermuda overnight. Winds officially gusted to 82 mph as the 70 mph tropical storm passed just east of the island after midnight last night. Winds dropped to near calm as the center passed and the barometer was measured at 986 mb. It will continue to the east northeast over open ocean over the next few days.
Now comes Gonzalo…
Based on Air Force Reconnaissance reports from the disturbance east of the northern Leewards, the National Hurricane Center is now issuing advisories on newly formed Tropical Storm Gonzalo. Gonzalo will produce tropical storm conditions across the northern Leewards, Virgin Islands and perhaps Puerto Rico. The system will recurve to the north.
Here is the latest info on Gonzalo:
SUMMARY OF 130 PM AST…1730 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 200 MI…320 KM E OF GUADELOUPE
ABOUT 230 MI…370 KM ESE OF ANTIGUA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…40 MPH…65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 270 DEGREES AT 10 MPH…17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1009 MB…29.80 INCHES
Here is the summary of watches and warnings:
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* LES SAINTES
* MARIE GALANTE
* ST. BARTHELEMY
* ST. EUSTATIUS
* ST. KITTS
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* PUERTO RICO
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Further east, Hanna is likely to form in coming days as well, but will recurve well to the east of the islands.
Tropical depression number six has formed in the eastern Atlantic this morning.
It should recurve harmless over the open Atlantic and poses no threat to land.
It should become Tropical Storm Edouard later today.