NOAA: Above average hurricane season in Atlantic, eastern and central Pacific

NOAA: Above average hurricane season in Atlantic, eastern and central Pacific

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Published

2 December 2016

The Atlantic, eastern Pacific and central Pacific 2016 hurricane seasons, which ended on 30 November, all were above-normal, according to the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Atlantic, eastern Pacific and central Pacific 2016 hurricane seasons, which ended on 30 November, all were above-normal, according to the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

For the Atlantic, this was the first above-normal season since 2012. The Atlantic saw 15 named storms during 2016, including 7 hurricanes (wind speeds of above 119 km/h). Three of these (Gaston, Matthew and Nicole) were major hurricanes of category 3 or above (wind speeds of at least 178 km/h).

The strongest and longest-lived storm of the season was Matthew, which reached maximum sustained surface winds of 160 miles per hour and lasted as a major hurricane for eight days from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7. Matthew was the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Felix in 2007.

Matthew intensified into a major hurricane on Sept. 30 over the Caribbean Sea, making it the first major hurricane in that region since Poloma in 2008. It made landfall as a category 4 major hurricane in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, causing extensive damage and loss of life. It then made landfall on Oct. 8 as a category 1 hurricane in the U.S. near McClellanville, South Carolina.

The hurricane season officially lasts from 1 June to 30 November 2016. However, Hurricane Alex developed in the central Azores as a rare January tropical cyclone. Hurricane Otto made landfall in Nicaragua very late in the season on 24 November and then exited into the Pacific as a tropical storm.

The average number of tropical storms during the 1981-2010 average baseline period is 12.1; the average number of hurricanes is 6.4; and the number of major hurricanes is 2.7, according to NOAA.

The eastern Pacific hurricane basin, which covers the eastern Pacific Ocean east of 140 degrees West, produced 20 named storms during 2016, above the long-term average of 16.5. This included 10 hurricanes of which 4 became major hurricanes. July through September was the most active three-month period on record for this basin.

The central Pacific hurricane basin covers the Pacific Ocean west of 140 degrees West to the International Date Line. This basin saw seven tropical cyclones (includes tropical depressions and named storms) during 2016. All seven became named storms, and included three hurricanes of which two were major hurricanes.

WMO’s Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee will make a full review of the 2016 at its annual meeting in March 2017. The US National Hurricane Center acts as WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre.

WMO page on tropical cyclones is here

NOAA press release here

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