NOAA Predicts Above-Normal Cyclone Activity in Central Pacific

Tracks of tropical cyclones that affected Hawaii until 2006.
Tracks of tropical cyclones that affected Hawaii until 2006.

Published May 25, 2019 5:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center estimates there is a 70 percent chance of above-normal tropical cyclone activity during the central Pacific hurricane season this year.

For the season as a whole, five to eight tropical cyclones are predicted for the central Pacific hurricane basin. This number includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. A near-normal season has four to five tropical cyclones, and an above-normal season has six or more tropical cyclones.

“This outlook reflects the forecast for El Nino to likely continue through the hurricane season. Also, ocean temperatures in the main hurricane formation region are expected to remain above-average, and vertical wind shear is predicted to be weaker-than-average,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, which collaborated on this outlook. “All of these conditions point to an above-normal season.”

El Nino decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, which favors more and stronger tropical cyclones. El Nino also favors more westward-moving storms from the eastern Pacific into the central Pacific.

The outlook does not predict whether any of these systems will affect Hawaii. 

The hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30.