JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Friday marked the beginning of the east Pacific hurricane season. With the high likelihood of El Nino lasting through the summer, it's looking to be an active season.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the average number of storms per season in the east Pacific (e. Pac) is 15 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes; category 3 or higher.
The 2015 prediction from the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional calls for the formation of 19 storms, 11 hurricanes and 4 major. This forecast is only slightly above the normal.
The east Pacific is one of the most prolific basins in the world when comparing global tropical activity. On average, the east Pacific season proves to be more active than the Atlantic basin -- especially in El Nino years.
ENSO, El Nino Southern Oscillation, plays a vital role in genesis of tropical storms and hurricanes in the main development regions (MDR).
When El Nino develops,the Atlantic usually transitions to a less active period with higher wind shear over the MDR of the Atlantic which decapitates any area of disturbed weather trying to get organized.
Quite the opposite is true in the E. Pac where the number of storms is above normal during an El Nino year.
While these Pacific storms rarely, if ever, directly affect the United States, their remnants can bring major flooding concerns to the southern U.S. as was the case in 1994 when the remnants of Hurricane Rosa stalled over Texas dumping as much as 30 inches of rain in the Houston area causing $2 billion dollars in damages.
The only state that really stands a chance at a direct impact from a Pacific hurricane is Hawaii. You don't have to look back very far to find a devastating impact in 1992 by Hurricane Iniki, a category 4 hurricane that destroyed the entire island of Kaua'i.
If nothing more, the start of the Pacific season is a reminder that the start of the Atlantic season is just two weeks away.
The Pacific season runs from May 15th to June 30th.