Ten years after the busiest hurricane season on record, a year that brought Hurricane Wilma to the Yucatán Peninsula, forecasters have comforting news.
Meteorologists are predicting a quiet hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean.
NOAA’s 2015 hurricane forecast for Mexico predicts a 70 percent chance of six to 11 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, three to six hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and zero to two major hurricanes, which fall under Category 3, 4 or 5 and possess winds of 111 mph or higher. An average year would bring 12 named tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes during hurricane season.
Hurricane season, which overlaps with Yucatán’s rainy season, began officially Monday and lasts until Nov. 30. Rains on the peninsula peak in October.
The names of Atlantic hurricanes this year would be Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.
The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season, a NOAA forecaster said.
Although not on the Atlantic Ocean, the peninsula’s flat terrain leaves it vulnerable to Atlantic coast hurricanes from the east.
Ten years ago, two forceful Category 5 storms hit the region. Hurricane Emily and Hurricane Wilma.
Although overshadowed by Hurricane Katrina, which pulverized New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, Hurricane Wilma remains the Atlantic’s most powerful storm on record, dumping more than five feet of rain on parts of the Yucatán Peninsula.
In all, 28 storms developed along the Atlantic during the 2005 season, and for the first time, forecasters ran out of names, turning instead to the Greek alphabet to name storms.
Sources: NOAA, Yahoo News