GG News Bureau
UNITED NATIONS, 27th May. US ‘ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday predicted “near-normal hurricane activity” in the Atlantic this storm season, forecasted 5 to 9 major storms that could become hurricanes.
US National Hurricane Center acts as WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological hub, based in Miami.
According to forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center there is a 40 per cent chance of a near-normal season, 30 per cent possibility of an “above-normal season”, and also 30 per cent of a below-normal season.
The hurricane season covering the Atlantic region, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and US east coast, lasts from 1 June to 30 November.
NOAA forecasts between 12 and 17 total named storms, which means winds of at least 63 kilometres per hour, or 39 miles per hour.
It forecasts 1 to 4 “major hurricanes” categories 3 to 5 with winds of at least 178kmh, or 111mph the potential hurricanes this season
WMO said that NOAA has “a 70 per cent confidence in these ranges.
“It is expected to be less active than recent years, due to competing factors – some that suppress storm development and some that fuel it – driving this year’s overall forecast for a near-normal season, according to NOAA”, WMO reported in a press release.
The agency reminded that it takes just one land falling major hurricane to set back years of growth and development.
Statistics presented to the ongoing World Meteorological Congress showed how Small Island Developing States suffer disproportionately in terms of both economic impact and the human toll.
Hurricane Maria in 2017 cost the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, a staggering 800 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product.
WMO said “Between 1970 and 2021 tropical cyclones (the generic term which includes hurricanes) were the leading cause of both reported human and economic losses worldwide, accounting for more than 2,000 disasters”.
The death toll from deadly storms has fallen from 350,000 in the 1970s to less than 20,000 in 2010-2019. Reported economic losses in 2010-2019 were at $573.2 billion.
WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said “Tropical cyclones are major killers and a single storm can reverse years of socio-economic development. The death toll has fallen dramatically thanks to improvements in forecasting, warning and disaster risk reduction. But we can do even better,”.
“The UN Early Warnings for All initiative seeks to ensure that everyone has access to warnings of life-threatening winds, storm surge and rainfall in the next five years, especially in Small Island Developing States which are on the frontlines of climate change,” he said.
An average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season produced 14 named storms, of which 8 became hurricanes and 2 were major hurricanes (Ian and Fiona). Both 2020 and 2021 were so active that the regular list of rotating names was exhausted.
It said that 3 hurricane seasons with a La Niña, there is a high potential for El Nino to develop this summer, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. El Nino’s potential influence on storm development could be offset by favorable conditions local to the tropical Atlantic Basin.
NOAA Administrator, Rick Spinrad said that “With a changing climate, the data and expertise NOAA provides to emergency managers and partners to support decision-making before, during and after a hurricane has never been more crucial.”
“To that end, this year we are operationalizing a new hurricane forecast model and extending the tropical cyclone outlook graphic from five to seven days, which will provide emergency managers and communities with more time to prepare for storms.”