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Expect inactive hurricane season, but do not become complacent - officials

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMGleaner Writer

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is projected to be one of the least active since the middle of the 20th century.

Jeffery Spooner, head of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, told The Gleaner that based on information from the Department of Atmospheric Science at the Colorado State University, the anticipated inactivity is due to an active El Nino phase.

The weather expert is, however, warning against complacency.

The El Niño climate phenomenon occurs when a vast pool of water in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean becomes abnormally warm.

These conditions prevent the development of any storm or hurricane.

The hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30.

“The forecast for this year is for seven named storms, compared to the average of 12, of these we are expecting three hurricanes to develop and the average is normally six and we are expecting one of these to become a major hurricane,” he said.

“There is a moderate strength El Nino and a fairly cool tropical and sub-tropical Atlantic. This doesn’t mean that climate change precautions should not be observed or anything of the sort. The one that is expected to develop, might very well be a category five and so we have to be on top of things because things are changing,” Spooner told The Gleaner.

Spooner also stressed that the predictions should not be used as a platform to ignore precautionary measures, instead, persons should be alert and have an appreciation for climate changes.

He also noted that there have been improvements, following the dry spell that the country experienced in 2014.

“We are certainly not as dry as we were last year and we are not seeing any such occurrence later this year. We have not done any projections thus far in terms of the summer period,” he said.

“I want this to be emphasised more than anything else. Our people cannot become complacent because it just takes one system to cause severe loss and hardship. It is therefore imperative that the people of Jamaica be prepared, keep themselves informed and make the necessary adjustments,” he charged.