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Meteorological Service of Jamaica predicts less than average hurricane season

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2015 | 5:00 AMCorey Robinson
Evan Thompson

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica is predicting a less-than-average hurricane season this year, but it is urging Jamaicans not to be lulled into complacency as the country could still face major threats during the season.

"Even if it is an inactive season, we could see one or two hurricanes that could affect Jamaica. So the level of preparedness cannot be reduced at all," Evan Thompson, head of the weather branch at the Met Service, told The Sunday Gleaner on the eve of the 2015 hurricane season, which begins tomorrow and ends on November 30.

"Compared to last year or the 2013 hurricane season, we should have fewer tropical storms developing for the entire season than average.

"Where hurricanes are concerned, we could have as many as six maximum, but a minimum of three is what we are looking at. Of these hurricanes, up to two could become major hurricanes," added Thompson.

He noted that last year's season was also less than average, with eight of 12 predicted tropical storms being formed.

All six predicted hurricanes developed last year, but only two reached the classification of major hurricanes.

According to Thompson, the reduction of storm activity can be attributed to many factors. "But the main reason is what is considered the existence of an El NiÒo phenomenon where there are changes in the climatic patterns initiated by the warming of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean."

The predictions from inter-national weather services have varied from "a quieter-than-normal season", (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), to "the most active and dangerous in at least three years", (Global Weather Oscillations Inc).

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