Belize Tropical Weather Outlook: December 21, 2014
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Atlantic Tracking Map:
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Belize NMS Forecast
6:00 AM in Belize, December 21, 2014
Tropical cyclone formation is not expected in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours.
Tropical Atlantic Wide Infrared Satellite Image:
USA National Weather Service Forecast
6:00 am EST on December 1, 2014
For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:
This is the last regularly scheduled tropical weather outlook of the
2014 Atlantic hurricane season. Routine issuance of the tropical
weather outlook will resume on June 1, 2015. During the off-season,
special tropical weather outlooks will be issued as conditions
48 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development
Infrared Satellite in Belize City
2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends
11/30/2014 4:04:09 PM
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season has come to a close.
The season featured 9 total depressions, 8 of which became named systems and 6 of which went on to become hurricanes. The strongest hurricane of the season was Gonzalo, which peaked at a maximum sustained wind speed of 145 mph.
The first storm of the season, Hurricane Arthur, made landfall along the North Carolina Outer Banks near Cape Lookout in early July.
120 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development
First 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecasts Have Been Released By Colorado State & Tropical Storm Risk – My Thoughts On These Forecasts
Rob Lightbown of Crown Weather Services
Friday, December 12, 2014 11:41 am
The first forecasts for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season have been issued by Colorado State University and Tropical Storm Risk. Right now, both forecasts have a very low degree of confidence and accuracy, but we can take away some valuable tidbits from both forecasts on what we should be watching over the next 6 months.
Colorado State University’s Forecast: http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2014/dec2014/dec2014.pdf - The overall takeaway from the Colorado State forecast is that there is uncertainty on how strong the El Niño will be during the peak of the 2015 Hurricane season and there seems to be equal chances between no El Niño during the 2015 hurricane season and the seedlings that form tropical cyclones to be above average and that a El Niño will be a factor that impacts the 2015 Hurricane Season even though there may be an above average number of tropical disturbances available to seed tropical cyclone development.
So, based on Colorado State’s forecast, if there is no El Niño during the 2015 Hurricane season, then we could see 12-15 named storms, 7-9 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 3-4 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes. Now, if there is a El Niño during the 2015 Hurricane season, those numbers drop to 8-11 named storms, 3-5 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 1-2 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes.
Turning to Tropical Storm Risk’s Forecast: http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/docs/TSRATLForecastDec2015.pdf - Tropical Storm Risk is forecasting a total of 13 named storms, 6 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 2 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes. The main inhibitor for the 2015 Hurricane season could be stronger than average wind shear across the Caribbean and the North Atlantic; however, this is a very low confidence forecast and much like CSU’s forecast this is hinged upon the state of the El Niño during the peak of the season.
Ok, here are my thoughts on all of this: First, I want to define exactly what an El Niño is – It is an abnormal warming of the tropical Pacific very near the Equator which stretches in a band from South America westward to the central part of the tropical Pacific. El Niño’s often times brings very wet winters to an area from California through the Southern United States. If an El Niño persists into the Hurricane season, it can mean a quiet season with fewer hurricanes and less intense hurricanes.
Right now, it looks like we are going to have a weak to moderate El Niño persist into at least Spring, 2015 and perhaps longer than that. We can already see the result of this El Niño with the Pineapple Express well established bringing heavy rainfall to California. It should be pointed out that El Niño’s usually peak in early spring before slowly diminishing during the summer and fall.
Looking back on this hurricane season (2014), even though there wasn’t an official El Niño declared, some of the atmospheric conditions usually associated with an El Niño were present. This includes the abnormally high wind shear that was found across the Caribbean, low storm numbers in the Atlantic and the very busy eastern and central Pacific.
My educated guess for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season is that we will see a somewhat more active season than what we saw in 2013 and 2014. I think that the El Niño that is now present will diminish by the time the 2015 Hurricane season begins, so the overall environmental conditions may become more favorable for tropical cyclone formation the deeper we get into next year’s Hurricane season.
A common track in the year immediately following a El Niño is for tropical storms and hurricanes to cruise from east to west across the entire Caribbean. 2007 is a good example of this and in fact this particular year has shown up as a possible analog year for the 2015 Hurricane Season.
Now, with that being said, I think the Gulf of Mexico and US Southeast coast also needs to be closely watched for hurricane and possibly major hurricane strikes. There are a few analog years that are already starting to show up:
The first is that December, 1994 is currently showing up as a current analog to the current pattern. If this analog continues to progress into next year, then we could be looking at 1995 as a possible analog for next year’s Hurricane Season. 1995 was a very active and very destructive season for the eastern Caribbean as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Florida Panhandle.
The second is that the winters of 1976-77 and 1977-78 continue to show up as analogs for the rest of this winter. Now if we translate this to the 1977 and 1978 Hurricane Seasons, we see that 1977 was a below average season in numbers, but Hurricane Babe impacted the Louisiana coast in September. As for 1978, the hurricane season started very early with a Subtropical Storm in the central Atlantic in January, but it also featured a Caribbean cruiser (Hurricane Greta) in September that ended up making landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 3 hurricane. The 1978 Hurricane season also had a tropical storm landfall in south Texas and another tropical storm landfall in southwestern Louisiana.
My thoughts are that I have a hard time believing that 2015 will be a quiet season. It is somewhat unusual to have a third hurricane season in a row with below average activity. So, where 2013 and 2014 were below average in overall activity, I have concerns that 2015 will be at least an average season and perhaps above average for overall activity. The ENSO state (El Nino, neutral or La Nina) is going to be crucial in determining on how active the 2015 Hurricane season may be.
I will end this by saying that it only takes one to make a season for any one person. We saw this play out during the 2014 Hurricane season with a significant hurricane impact on the northeastern Caribbean and a major hurricane impact in Bermuda.
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends With Below-Average Activity
4:36 PM GMT on December 01, 2014
The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is officially in the books, ending up with below average activity--8 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) that was 63% of the 1981 - 2010 median. The 2014 numbers were below the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, and way below the averages from the active hurricane period 1995 - 2013: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 151% of the median. The death and damage statistics for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season were gratifyingly low: there were only five deaths (four from Hurricane Gonzalo in the Lesser Antilles and one from Tropical Storm Dolly in Mexico), and total damages from all storms were less than $500 million. The quiet season was due to an atmospheric circulation that favored dry, sinking air over the tropical Atlantic, and high wind shear over the Caribbean. Sea Surface Temperatures were also near-average--considerably cooler than what we've gotten used to since the active hurricane period that began in 1995.
Figure 1. Tracking chart for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. Image credit: NHC.
Some notable facts from the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, as provided by Philip Klotzbach and Bill Gray of Colorado State:
- For the ninth consecutive year, no major hurricanes hit the U.S., marking the first time since records began in 1851 the U.S. has gone that long without a Category 3 or stronger hurricane hitting. The previous record was eight years, set in 1861 - 1868. Wilma of 2005 was the last major hurricane to hit the U.S., and was also the last hurricane to hit Florida.
- For the ninth consecutive year, Florida went without a hurricane strike. This is Florida's longest hurricane-free stretch since records began in 1851. The previous longest hurricane-free streak in Florida was five years, set in 1980 - 1984.
- Arthur was the strongest storm (Category 2 at landfall) to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Ike (also Category 2 at landfall) in 2008.
- Strongest hurricane: Hurricane Gonzalo, 145 mph winds, 940 mb pressure.
- Most damaging hurricane: Hurricane Gonzalo, $200 - $400 million damage in Bermuda.
- Longest-lived named storm: Edouard, 7.75 days as a named storm.
- The eight named storms were the fewest since 1997.
- Vertical wind shear (200-850-mb) during July-September in the Caribbean (10-20°N, 90-60°W) was 11.3 meters per second, which was the strongest since 1986 (11.6 meters per second).
- More ACE was accrued during October (30 units) than during August and September combined (29 units). The last time that this happened was 1963.
- The pre-season forecasts made by the major forecast groups at NOAA, Colorado State, TSR, Penn State, Florida State, WSI, the UKMET office, and NC State all did well. These forecasts called for a near-average to below-average Atlantic hurricane season.
CLICK HERE for the website for Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)
Tropical Atlantic Wide Visible Satellite Image