Active Central Pacific Hurricane Season Comes to a Close
The 2015 Central Pacific hurricane season officially ended on November 30, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released a summary of the historic season. Though it was forecast that the season would be “above-normal,” 2015 saw the formation of an unprecedented 15 tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific.
Activity this season started earlier than usual—in fact, Tropical Storm Ela was recorded (on July 9) as the “earliest tropical cyclone to develop to tropical storm strength in the Central Pacific during hurricane season” (NOAA). Of the named tropical cyclones that formed this season, eight became hurricanes (five of which were major hurricanes: Hilda, Kilo, Ignacio, Jimena, and Olaf) (NOAA).
Also recorded for the first time in history, three major hurricanes were part of a Central and Eastern Pacific outbreak—Kilo and Ignacio in the Central Pacific basin, and Jimena in the Eastern Pacific—all of which reached Category 4 intensity concurrently. According to NOAA’s report, prior to 2015, “two concurrent Category 3 hurricanes, let alone Category 4, had never been recorded in the central Pacific basin” (NOAA).
The Central Pacific hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
This Week in Hazards
- Australia’s Northern Territory is expected to receive severe weather as a tropical disturbance moves slowly eastward and through the Gulf of Carpentaria (BOM Tropical Cyclone Advice #3). Warnings are in effect for the Daly, Tiwi, Arnhem, and Carpentaria districts, as damaging winds, heavy rainfall, abnormally high tides, and damaging surf are forecast (BOM). According to reports, rainfall totals over 200 millimeters (approximately 8 inches) have been recorded in the North West Coastal Rivers over the past 24 hours, and daily rainfall totals over 100 millimeters are likely over the next few days (BOM Flood Watch #2)
- Severe weather is also affecting parts of South America (ECHO). As of December 21, at least 50 municipalities of Bolivia have declared a “state of emergency” due to heavy rains, flooding, and drought. Heavy rains and floods have affected an estimated 100,000 people in Paraguay, especially in the areas of Asuncion and Nanawa (ECHO, PAHO). In Uruguay, 954 people remain displaced (as of December 21) due to flooding in the departments of Salto, Artigas, and Paysandú.
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, United States (Midwest, Southeast, Oregon, Texas), Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Scotland, England, Australia (Northern Territory)
Winter Storm: Canada (Nunavut), United States (Alaska, Western)
Avalanche: United States (Northwest)
Drought: Puerto Rico, Pacific Islands
Biomedical: West Africa
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