2017 Predictions Increased; Another Wave Approaching

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Published: August 12, 2017 12:03 pm AST
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The predictions for this year’s hurricane season have been heightened, from that of an above average to an extremely active one.

This information was disclosed in an updated outlook produced by the The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on August 9.

According to the new report, the body said this season has the potential to be extremely active, as hurricanes forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, with an increase in the number of named storms and major hurricanes.

NOAA’s forecasters have indicated that there is now a sixty percent chance of an above-normal season; an increase from their forty-five percent predicted in May.

The predictions now call for 14 to 19 named storms, of which two to five could be major hurricanes. Earlier predictions named 11-17 storms, of which two to four could be major hurricanes. The initial prediction of 5-9 hurricanes overall, remains unchanged.

Lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Gerry Bell explained the factors contributing to the increase.

He said, “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”

Dr. Bell added that there is warmer water across the tropical Atlantic than previously predicted.

Meantime, Colorado State University’s hurricane researchers have maintained their above-average Atlantic hurricane season prediction. They have cited neutral El Nino conditions and a warmer than normal tropical Atlantic as the main reasons for the above-average prediction.

To date, the season has produced six named storms—Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily and Franklin. The total number of named storms in an ‘average’ Atlantic hurricane season is 12, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Apart from named storms and hurricanes, other weather systems such as tropical waves could pose a threat to the region and continue to be monitored.

Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Sharlene DaBreo continues to emphasise the need for everyone to remain vigilant and prepared for these weather systems.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30.

Wave Fast Approaching

Meanwhile, the Territory is expected to face another tropical wave sometime around Monday, August 14, or early next week.

Both the Antigua & Barbuda Meteorological Services and the Department of Disaster Management are currently monitoring this system, which is expected to bring about more wind and rains.

Gradual development of this system is possible as it tracks west to west-northwest. There is a thirty percent chance of development.

According to DDM, if the system were to reach the Lesser Antilles, it would take about 7 days to do so.

Most of our model data suggest it will track north of the islands. However, it remains too early to determine whether or not it will miss the islands to the north.

Other areas of disturbed weather located along longitude 25 degrees west and moving west near 20 mph, are also being monitored.

Notably, Invest 99L is about 300 miles north of Hispaniola. The system has been moving to the west-northwest over the last few days, however, a more northerly track is expected by Sunday.

The disturbance has a sixty percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm by early next week, DDM stated.

This is will be the final update on Invest 99L, as it continues to move away from the Territory.

The DDM will continue to monitor all weather systems and provide updates as they become available.
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