Saturday, February 13, 2016

El Nino comeback, hurricane setback?

Warming Pacific may bode well for Atlantic Coast.

El Nino comeback, hurricane setback?


This morning, WSI Corp., the commercial weather service in Massachusetts, tweaked its hurricane outlook in light of two very different developments.

First, since the season is off to a frisky start, with four tropical storms worthy of a name, the company bumped up the forecast for named storms from 11, to 12.

More significantly, WSI now believes the season will be losing steam at a critical time, in September and October, when storms born off the African coast can crash into the U.S. East Coast.

WSI meteorologist Todd Crawford banks the late-season outlook on the development of abnormally warm waters in the tropical Pacific, or El Nino, later in the summer.

During El Nino, the heating of the overlying air ultimately results in strong upper-level winds from the west that can shear off  incipient tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin before they can build into hurricanes.

Crawford sees a “significant” El Nino event, but the outlooks by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center and the World Meteorological Organization are more circumspect.

Both the U.S. and U.N. agencies note that waters are definitely warming in the Pacific and that computer models like the idea of a developing El Nino, this is not a done deal, nor anyone yet predict the strength.

This will bear watching during the next several weeks, particularly if you own property in South Florida. The climate center issues weekly updates on Monday, available on the above-referenced site.

Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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