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EL NIÑO EXPECTED TO IMPACT ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON, NOAA REPORTS

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Andrew as it approached Florida on August 23, 1992.August 8, 2002 — As the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season nears its peak period, NOAA’s hurricane forecasters today said they expect seven to 10 tropical storms, of which four to six could develop into hurricanes, with one to three classified as major—Category 3 or higher on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. The total expected activity falls in the normal, to below-normal range, and indicates a low probability of an above-average season. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Andrew as it approached Florida on August 23, 1992. Please credit "NOAA.")

NOAA forecasters also cautioned residents living along the East and Gulf coasts to prepare for possible land-falling storms. “We want people to understand that it only takes one hurricane, or tropical storm, to bring death and destruction,” said Jim Laver, director of the Climate Prediction Center, which is a part of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

The hurricane season peak period lasts from mid-August through October. The hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

NOAA satellite image of El  Niño taken August 5, 2002.Since the May hurricane season outlook, Laver said El Niño has strengthened, and is now expected to reduce Atlantic hurricane activity. “El Niño is expected to last at least into early 2003,” he said, adding the climate phenomenon will be a weaker version of the powerful El Niño of 1997-98. “As El Niño matures, it is expected to first impact the Atlantic hurricane season in late September and October, then U.S. temperatures and precipitation in the fall and winter,” Laver said. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of El Niño taken August 5, 2002.)

At NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, forecasters have tracked three named storms so far, including Tropical Storm Cristobal now churning in the open Atlantic. Max Mayfield, the center’s director, said residents must remain vigilant for the worst.

Hurricane Andrew, one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, happened in a season with below-average activity, and ten years later, there are some areas of south Florida that will never be the same,” Mayfield said. “This is not the time to let down our guard,” he added.

Hurricane Facts

  • The latest observed hurricane was on December 31, 1954, the second "Alice" of that year, which persisted as a hurricane until January 5, 1955.
  • The latest hurricane to strike the United States happened on Nov. 30, 1925 near Tampa, Fla.
  • Hurricane Ginger in 1971 holds the record for most days as a hurricane—20.
  • September has had more major hurricanes than all other months combined.
  • Thirty-six percent of all U.S. hurricanes hit Florida.
  • Seventy-six percent of category 4 or higher hurricanes striking the United States have hit either Florida or Texas.

NOAA released both its monthly El Niño report and mid-season Atlantic hurricane outlook today.

The El Niño Diagnostic Discussion is a team effort consisting of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, Climate Diagnostic Center, National Climatic Data Center, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction. NOAA’s National Weather Service will continue to monitor the developments of El Niño and Atlantic hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season outlook is a joint effort of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Hurricane Research Division and National Hurricane Center.

The Climate Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center are part of NOAA's National Weather Service. The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA Weather Service operates the most advanced flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property, and enhance the national economy.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's National Hurricane Center — Get the latest advisories here

Hurricane Awareness Week

NOAA's Hurricane Andrew Report

NOAA Photos of Hurricane Andrew


Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

NOAA Satellite Images — The latest satellite views

Colorized Satellite Images

NOAA 3-D Satellite Images

NOAA's Hurricanes Page


NOAA's Storm Watch — Get the latest severe weather information across the USA

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion

Weekly El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Update


Most Recent 2 Months Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Animation

El Niño and La Niña-related Winter Features over North America


NOAA's El Niño Theme Page

NOAA's El Niño Home Page

CLIMATE FACTORS HELPING TO SHAPE WINTER 2001-2002

NOAA's CURRENT SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE MAPS


ENSO Fact Sheet

ENSO Frequently Asked Questions

ENSO Tutorial

ENSO Recent Events

Sea Surface Temperature Outlook

ENSO Impacts by Region

Media Contact:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163 or Frank Lepore, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., (305) 229-4404