Even though it’s April, there are some early updates on what the coming Atlantic Hurricane season has in store. In 2018 there were 15 named storms, of which 8 became Hurricanes with two of them reaching Major strength. In a normal season we would expect 12 named storms with 6 Hurricanes and 3 reaching Major strength. There is no correlation as to how many names storms develop and how many will make landfall.
Colorado State University is one of the leading experts when it comes to predicting how many storms to expect in a given year this year they (along with other experts) have evaluated data from around the world and this year it appears an El Nino will once again be making news and affecting the Hurricane season.
As of this spring there is evidence of a weak El Nino in place that should slowly gain strength through the summer and even through the fall. This is important as a stronger El Nino tends to produce more wind shear across the tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic. Increasing upper level shear is bad news to a developing tropical storm/Hurricane as thunderstorm activity never has a chance to build and without the development of strong thunderstorm activity a tropical storm/Hurricane will have a harder time organizing and ultimately gaining strength. As a result, seasons where there is an active El Nino, those seasons tend to have lower seasonal named storm totals.
As of now, the early feeling by the experts is that 13 named storms will form with 5 reaching Hurricane Strength and two Hurricanes reaching Major status. These numbers will be updated later in the year and if there is evidence of a strengthening El Nino, we may see the lower totals.
It is important to note that during El Nino years, we tend to see an increase in tropical storms/Hurricane activity across the eastern Pacific. Hurricane season across the eastern Pacific begins on May 15. In past years during El Nino years, Major Hurricanes have impacted the entire Mexican coast including around Cabo San Lucas, so even if the Atlantic ends of being a below average season, the eastern Pacific could make up for it and movement between the USWC and Panama Canal could be challenging.
If you are planning to travel between the Panama Canal and the USWC, be sure to contact Ocean Marine Nav to set up service