Activity Picks Up Significantly in Eastern Pacific

EPAC Makes Up for Slow Start With 10 Storms in Last Seven Weeks

While the Atlantic got off to a fast start with four named storms including a hurricane by the end of June, the Eastern Pacific was unusually quiet. Despite starting its season on May 15th, the EPAC only had one depression over the first month and a half of the season, and didn’t have its first named storm until July 2nd.

However, over the past seven weeks, the Eastern Pacific basin has made up for lost time with 10 named storms including five hurricanes. Of those five hurricanes, three of them became major hurricanes: Blas, Darby, and Georgette. So far this season, the Eastern Pacific has had 11 depressions, 10 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

The latest storm to develop is Tropical Storm Kay, which has strengthened a little in the past 24 hours to have winds of 50 miles per hour. Kay is located about 140 miles to the West-Northwest of Socorro Island, or 310 miles to the Southwest of the Southern tip of Baja California.

Kay is not expected to strengthen over the next couple days. Last year, the Eastern Pacific was very active with 22 depressions, 18 named storms, 13 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. The strongest storm of the season was Hurricane Patricia, which grew to be the most intense storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere with maximum winds of 200 miles per hour and a minimum central pressure of 879 millibars, or 25.96 inches of Hg.

Part of the reason for the sluggish start to 2016 in the Eastern Pacific was the dissipation of the latest El Niño episode earlier this year. When there is an El Niño, the Eastern Pacific waters are warmer than normal, and with tropical storms and hurricanes needing at least 80 degree sea surface temperatures to grow and flourish, the decay of the latest El Niño hindered development of storms.

A weak La Niña is anticipated as we move into the latter portion of 2016, and that means cooler than normal waters are expected in the Eastern Pacific, which is not conducive for tropical development. Meanwhile, conditions in the Atlantic are expected to pick up with less activity in the Eastern Pacific to produce upper level wind shear.