Eastern Pacific Off To Fast Start Despite Talks Of La Nina

So much for the end of the recent episode of El Nino, and the possible development of La Nina. The 2007 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, which got underway a little more than two weeks ago on May 15th, has already had its second named storm. Over the weekend, on May 27th, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on the first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Alvin, which peaked at 40 mph winds, and a minimum central pressure of 1004 mb, or 29.65 inches of Hg as of 11 PM EDT on May 28, 2007.

Approximately eighteen hours later, at 5:00 PM EDT on May 29, 2007, the second named storm of the season began to develop as a depression, and later became Tropical Storm Barbara. While initial forecasts indicated Barbara had an opportunity to become a hurricane as late as today, the storm has weakened, and is now unlikely to strengthen into the year’s first hurricane in either the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins. Barbara, which became a named storm at 11:00 AM on May 30, 2007, peaked at only a slightly stronger intensity than Alvin with winds at 45 mph, and gusts to 55 mph while minimum central pressure dipped to 1002 mb, or 29.59 inches of Hg at 5:00 AM EDT on May 31, 2007. While both storms have been very mild, their formations demonstrate that the EPAC is off to a very quick start with two tropical cyclones in just the first sixteen days of the new season.

Earlier this month, Hurricaneville indicated that last year’s hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific was the most active since 1997. Both 1997 and 2007 were El Nino years, which explained the tremendous activity in the region. Simultaneously, both those seasons were below normal in an Atlantic Basin that has been experiencing an unprecedented era of activity since 1995. Due to the dissipation of the latest El Nino earlier this year, and the potential emergence of a La Nina event during this year, forecasts called for much lower activity in the Eastern Pacific in 2007. Meanwhile, those two factors have also convinced forecasters to project a very busy Atlantic Hurricane Season with 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. To review, El Nino is a global climate phenomenon that occurs when sea surface temperatures are above normal in the Pacific Ocean, and is usually responsible for above average hurricane activity in the Eastern Pacific, and below average activity in the Atlantic. Conversely, La Nina occurs when sea surface temperatures in the Pacific are below normal, and causes below average activity in the EPAC, and above average activity in the Atlantic.