2008 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season Underway

On Thursday, the 2008 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season got underway, and NOAA was on duty with two daily Tropical Weather Outlooks issued. The Eastern Pacific Hurricane season starts earlier to coincide with the Mexican monsoon season, and it lasts all the way until the end of November. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st.

With La Nina conditions still in effect throughout the Pacific, sea surface temperatures will be cooler than normal for the time being, and that may have an impact on how many storms will form in the EPAC this season. On the contrary, the Atlantic will benefit from the La Nina episode in the form of light upper level winds. The lessening of hostile upper air conditions from the Eastern Pacific will help storms be able to grow and build in the Atlantic Ocean, especially during the peak months of the season from August to October.

While the Atlantic has enjoyed a great deal of activity in the last 13 years or so, the Eastern Pacific has been either just average, or below average. The first two seasons of the period, 1995 and 1996 were the way they were because of La Nina as was 1998. Meanwhile, 2005 was a year when other factors emerged such as heavy rainfall from the Sahel, low pressure and high sea surface temperatures played a pivotal role in the development of such powerful storms as Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Usually when activity picks up in the Eastern Pacific, it is due to the El Nino, and the warmer than normal sea surface temperatures that develop. When numerous storms occur in the EPAC that usually means more upper level shearing conditions in the Atlantic, which hinders tropical cyclogenesis in that region.