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J’cans urged to remain storm vigilant - Met Service says region should take note of adjusted forecast

Published:Saturday | August 10, 2019 | 12:13 AM

With a 15 percentage point increase in the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, Director of the National Meteorological Service Evan Thompson is urging greater vigilance for the rest of the period, which ends on November 30.

Yesterday, seasonal forecasters with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center increased the probability of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 45 per cent, up from 30 per cent from the outlook issued in May.

The forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns at the NOAA say that conditions are now more favourable for above-normal hurricane activity since El Niño has now ended.

While not combing through the latest NOAA’s forecast in detail, Thompson told The Gleaner yesterday that the Meteorological Service had no objection to the adjusted forecast.

Thompson said that it would not come as a surprise that in the latter half of the hurricane season, the region could see an increase in activity.

The head of the Met Service noted that even with a 10 per cent probability of above-normal activity, or normal activity, one significant hurricane moving across the island was sufficient to cause devastation and significant setback to the country’s economy.

With the most active part of the season being August and September, Thompson said that a step up in the frequency of development of systems should be anticipated.

El Niño and La Niña are opposite phases of what is known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle, which is a scientific term that describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.

Two named storms have formed so far this year, however, peak months of the hurricane season, August to October, are now under way.