There has been much attention focused on the unusually rare activity in the month of June in the Atlantic in 2005. However, the Eastern Pacific, which has gotten off to very slow starts in 2003 and 2004, has already seen three named storms (Adrian, Beatriz, and Calvin) since starting its season on May 15th. It is quite rare to have active seasons in both the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.
This fact has been especially true over the past ten years, where El Nino and La Nina patterns have caused very active seasons in one basin while leaving the other quite dormant. But, since the overall climate pattern up to this point in 2005 has been neutral in that there are no major El Nino or La Nina anomalies controlling the global weather patterns, the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific are both off to fast starts.
Believe it or not, the Eastern Pacific is when the Hurricane Season truly starts for North America and the Western Hemisphere. Each year, the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season starts on May 15th, which is a bit more than two weeks before the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which starts on June 1st. While tropical storms and hurricanes in the Eastpac normally don't affect land, particularly in the Southwestern United States, they usually don't get as much attention.
However, there are occasions where Eastern Pacific storms do make an impact, particularly along the Mexican Rivera northward into Baja California in the vicinity of Cabo San Lucas. Usually, they do not sustain themselves farther north into Southern California or Arizona due to the fact that cooler waters created by the California current, weakens them significantly. That is not to say that tropical systems have not impacted these areas. In 1939, a tropical storm hit Southern California, and left behind a significant amount of death and destruction.
Then, in 1997, an El Nino year, there were several storms in the Eastern Pacific that drew attention including Hurricanes Linda, Nora, Pauline, and Rick. Linda was the most notable reaching Category Five strength with 190 mph winds off Soccorro island, a very small uninhabited island off the West Coast of Mexico. At that time, many feared the worst for Southern California, especially San Diego. However, the storm abated, and California once again dodged the bullet. Nora was also a powerful hurricane at one time, and threatened to bring leftover rains into Arizona, but fizzled out. Pauline and Rick would leave behind a more significant impact to Mexico.
There have been some storms forming early on in the Eastern Pacific season that became quite powerful such as Hurricane Adolph back in May, 2001. Adolph, which became the strongest storm to form in the EPAC Basin during the month of May, had winds of 150 mph. This year, the East Pacific had a storm in May, but it was much more modest. Hurricane Adrian formed a week or so into the new season, and was rare in the sense that it moved eastward from the Gulf of Tehuantepec into Central America, where it strengthened into a minimal hurricane before making landfall in El Salvador.
For a short time, Adrian created some interest in the media with its eastward motion. The reason was the possibility that it could move across Central America into the Caribbean portion of the Atlantic Basin, and became an Atlantic storm. The two possible scenarios for Adrian if it were to cross into the Atlantic side were either staying as Adrian if it maintained at least tropical storm strength across Central America into the Caribbean, or assume an Atlantic name, which would have been Arlene if it weakened to a depression or low over Central America, and regenerated on the Atlantic side.
In the month of June, two more storms formed in the region. Both Beatriz and Calvin were tropical storms that did not make any real significant impact. Nevertheless, the 2005 season is off to a very busy start with three named storms and a hurricane. Back in 2003, the first hurricane in the Eastern Pacific, Ignacio, did not form until August after eight named storms developed in a very unusual season. The following year, 2004, was quite dormant with a sluggish start that included eight named storms, four hurricanes, four depressions, and only one major hurricane by the middle of August last year.
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