NOAA expects below-normal Central Pacific hurricane season

May 24, 2012

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center today announced that projected climate conditions point to a below-normal hurricane season in the Central Pacific Basin this year. The seasonal hurricane outlook is produced in collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.

The 2012 outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 20 percent chance of an above-normal season. Forecasters expect 2-4 tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific this season. An average season has 4-5 tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. 

“Despite the forecast for a below-normal season, we encourage everyone to get prepared for the start of the season and stay on top of the forecasts as storms develop,” said Ray Tanabe, director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center – part of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “We’ve had two quiet seasons in a row here in the Central Pacific, but don’t let your guard down. We should all be weather-ready this and every season.”

NOAA issued its outlook at a news conference in Honolulu to urge Hawaii residents to be fully prepared ahead of the onset of the hurricane season, which begins on June 1. This outlook for a below-normal season is based on the continuing low cyclone activity era in the Eastern Pacific Basin which has been in place since 1995 and the current ENSO-neutral conditions (no El Niño or La Niña). The outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity and does not predict whether, where, when, or how many of these systems will affect Hawaii.

“NOAA hurricane forecasters stand ready to track tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific Basin and warn communities of any landfall threats,” Tanabe said.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners. This array of data supplies the information for complex computer modeling and human expertise that serves as the basis for the hurricane center’s track and intensity forecasts that extend out five days.

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