John And Ioke Continue To Make The Pacific King in 2006

Tracking Hurricane JohnGood afternoon everybody. I plan to have an edition of both Tracking the Tropics and the Hurricaneville Storm Report out later. Right now, I want to talk about the latest activity in both the Eastern Pacific and the Central Pacific. In case, you haven’t been aware, or have been like me and totally focused on Ernesto, the activity continues to take place in the Pacific. First, in the Eastern Pacific, there are two storms: Hurricane John and Tropical Storm Kristy. The main show here is with Hurricane John, which is not only a major hurricane, but also a Category Four Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph.

More importantly though, John is threatening the West Coast of Mexico. Located some 170 miles Southeast of Manzanillo, Mexico, or about 70 miles Southwest of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, the storm has raised watch and warning flags for portions of Mexico’s Pacific coast. A Hurricane Warning remains in effect from Lazaro Cardenas to Cabo Corrientes and a Hurricane Watch is now in effect for the Islas Marias. A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from Acapulco to Lazaro Cardenas while a Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect from Cabo Corrientes to El Roblito.

So far in 2006, the Eastern Pacific has had 12 depressions, 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. By far the strongest storm in this region this year is John. This storm has also been the greatest threat to land with its current status near the coast of Mexico. The last time this region was this active at this point in the season was 1997, which was much more active in terms of major storms and Category Five systems. Ironically that season was a very quiet one in the Atlantic. So far in 2006, the Atlantic has seen only five named storms with one becoming a hurricane for a bit more than a half of a day.

Further west in the Central Pacific, we have a Super Typhoon. Ioke, which was a hurricane in the area of Hawaii last week, crossed the international date line, and is now threatening Wake Island. The storm was a major hurricane at one point as it passed to the south of Hawaii, and made an approach to largely uninhabited Johnston Island as a Category Two storm. Presently, Ioke has maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, which makes it just under the equivalent of a Category Five Hurricane in either the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific. Located some 235 miles to the East-Southeast of Wake Island, Ioke is anticipated to move very close to the island by later tonight or early Thursday (U.S. Time).

This latest round of activity throughout the Pacific continues to show that conditions appear to be favoring an emegence of an El Nino. The Atlantic has had very hostile upper level dynamics while the Eastern Pacific has been busy with storms, hurricanes, and typhoons. The Western Pacific has been busy as well with eight storms alone striking mainland China including the worst typhoon to strike there in fifty years. Will this trend continue? We’ll have to see. Despite the fact that the atmosphere has not been kind to storms in the Atlantic, the region has shown signs of awakening in the past few weeks.