Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 29, 2021 (SKNIS): The 2021 Hurricane Season, which officially starts on June 01, indicates another above-average period with 18 named storms, 12 less than the 30 named storms in 2020.
“For this year, they are looking at a lower number and the reason for that is because last year we had a strong La Niña, whereas this year, we anticipate that as we go into the peak of the Hurricane Season, we are going to be experiencing a weak to moderate La Niña,” said Elmo Burke, Senior Meteorological (MET) Officer at the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) on the April 28 edition of Working for You.
Information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that La Niña is a natural ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by cooler than average sea surface temperatures across the Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator.
Mr. Burke noted that of the 18 named storms for 2021, eight may develop into hurricanes, and out of the eight, four may develop into major hurricanes of categories three, four, or five. He added that the predictions do not mean that St. Kitts and Nevis will be impacted by any of the 18 named storms or by all of them.
“What the forecast does is allow for the disaster fraternity and the insurance companies to start to mobilize resources because there is the potential that you may be impacted or there is a high potential that you can now start to mobilize pre-position resources as well,” he said noting that this is just one main objective of the forecast.
Mr. Burke touched briefly on comments made where persons stated that the hurricane forecasts are inaccurate because the Federation was not impacted in 2020.
“The forecast is totally accurate because they never said that they are doing a forecast for St. Kitts and Nevis. They are doing it for the Atlantic Basin [which includes] the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the United States Coastline,” he said. “We are saying in that region that we anticipate a hyperactive Hurricane Season in terms of hurricane activity and as such, it materialized where last year we had 30 storms, 14 of which developed into hurricanes and six developed into major hurricanes.”
The Senior Met Officer said that several universities within the United States have invested in terms of supercomputers to produce climate forecasts. However, one of the more reliable and acceptable ones especially for the Caribbean is the forecast from the Colorado State University (CSU) “because over the years they have been more accurate.”
According to www.nhc.noaa.gov, since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. For 2021, the named storms are Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.
The Hurricane Season officially ends on November 30.