On Tuesday, the 2007 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season got underway without little fanfare. As of the latest Tropical Weather Outlook from the region courtesy of the National Hurricane Center, tropical cyclone formation was not expected for the next 48 hours.
Last year, the activity was in the Eastern Pacific. Although predictions for a busy year had been projected for the North Atlantic basin, an El Nino episode emerged during the middle of the season that helped keep storm and hurricane totals down. However, that same ENSO development was responsible for a very active year in the EPAC with a total of 21 depressions forming, and 18 of them becoming named storms with ten of those maturing into hurricanes. Of the double digit number of hurricanes to emerge in the region, five of them became major or intense hurricanes with winds of Category Three strength or better on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
What to expect this year? Conditions should be at or below normal this season. Reason for that is the fact that the El Nino responsible for the hectic activity in 2006 has dissipated, and there has been recent discussions of the development of a La Nina episode in the Pacific. During an El Nino, sea surface temperatures are above normal while they are below normal in La Nina. In order to have tropical formation, sea surface, or ocean temperatures must be at least 80 degrees or better. So, the Atlantic will be busy while the Eastern Pacific will not. Wondering why the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season starts on May 15th while the Atlantic starts on June 1st? The EPAC season starts earlier since the rainy seasons in places such as Mexico begin sooner, and thunderstorms have a better chance of developing into something more tropical in nature earlier in the Pacific.