SINT MAARTEN /CARIBBEAN – (SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT) The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is officially over – November 30. It has been described as an extremely busy season with 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes and six of those major hurricanes of Category 3 and higher with scale five being the highest. The season saw two destructive Category 5 hurricanes, namely Irma and Maria.
Weather specialist said described the season as the most destructive, intense and among the busiest on record, with three systems causing the most damage, Harvey (peak winds of 130 miles per hour), Irma (185 mph) and Maria (175 mph).
Irma will go down in the record books for being able to maintain an intensity of 185 mph for 37 hours; it was also the strongest on record in the Atlantic; the most intense ever to hit the Leeward Islands. It is the second-strongest hurricane observed in the Atlantic coming behind Allen (1980) with 190 mph.
Crown Weather Services in its end of the season report says it is concerned that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season could be another active one with activity similar to 2017 or possibly even a little more active. The aforementioned is based on ENSO and sea surface temperature forecasts for next year.
Crown Weather says: “I think that we could see the following for the 2018 Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Hurricane Season: 17 Named Storms, 8 of those storms becoming Hurricanes and 3 of those of hurricanes becoming Major Hurricanes.
“The reason why I’m not forecasting a busier season is due to the significant uncertainty with the ENSO models and a currently less than favorable sea surface temperature profile setup. If we do end up seeing very favorable conditions materialize, then we could see higher numbers than what I am currently forecasting.
“As for possible storm tracks during the 2018 Hurricane Season – The track cluster during the 2017 Hurricane Season was further west and slightly more south than the 2016 Season. This is a trend that began in 2015 and is concerning because I think the track cluster during the 2018 Hurricane Season could end up being further west and south than the 2017 Season.
“This means that the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico could be at particular risk from tropical storms and hurricanes during the 2018 Hurricane Season. In addition, the Bahamas and south Florida could also be at risk again during 2018 for a tropical storm or hurricane landfall.”
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