NOAA Expects Slightly Below Average Central Pacific Hurricane Season

May 19, 2008

Hurricane Flossie.

Hurricane Flossie on August 14, 2007, south of Hawaiian Islands.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu expects three to four tropical cyclones in the central Pacific basin in 2008, a slightly below average season. 

In a typical year, four to five tropical cyclones form or cross into the central Pacific, two of which on average reach hurricane intensity, according to NOAA’s National Weather Service hurricane experts.

“Recent data from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center indicates La Niña conditions have weakened since February and may become neutral by summer’s end,” said Jim Weyman, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “We typically see less tropical cyclone activity in the central Pacific when La Niña is active or neutral and more activity during an El Niño cycle.”

Among the factors considered in the seasonal hurricane outlook, added Weyman, are El Niño and La Niña cycles, decadal variations, and prevailing atmospheric conditions.

For the 2008 season, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center is introducing new products and technology to improve customer service. An experimental graphical tropical weather outlook will provide a visual representation of the current text-based product. Tropical cyclone watch and warning products will summarize all current watches and warnings in one location. New video teleconferencing equipment provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will facilitate collaboration between CPHC and local, state and national officials.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona Jr. have declared May 18-24 Hurricane Preparedness Week in Hawaii. They signed a proclamation calling upon government agencies, private organizations, schools and the news media to share information about hurricane preparedness and asking everyone to take appropriate safety measures.

“In the event of a major hurricane striking Hawaii, it may take several days for help to reach some locations,” Lt. Gov. Aiona said. “It is extremely important for individuals, families, and businesses to have an emergency action plan that they can implement smoothly to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Weyman echoed Lt. Gov. Aiona’s advice, emphasizing that being prepared is empowering. “People who have their disaster supplies ready, know where their evacuation shelters are, and have coordinated with their family in advance will be best prepared to pull through the critical period before help arrives,” he said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.