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Jun 1, 2015

Hurricane Season Will be Average to Below Average

Today is the start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic which runs through to November thirtieth and is predicted to be below average to average. Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez says that although the outlook calls for a pretty low key season, we must still be prepared.

 

Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorologist, Belize Met Service

 “The most reputable agencies that produce these forecasts indicate that the season will be average to a little below average. In terms of named systems, they are forecasting as low as six named systems and as high as eleven. The average is twelve named systems. In terms of hurricanes, the forecast is for about three to six hurricanes developing this year. The average is about six, the long term average is about six. In terms of major hurricanes, categories three, four and five, the average is about two. And the forecast is about one to two major hurricanes developing this year. I must hasten to say that although these outlooks indicate average to below average ground activity this year, we still have to be prepared because the outlooks do not indicate where landfall would be with these systems”.

 

Andrea Polanco

“Would you say that for the next couple of months are we going to be seeing a lot of rains consistently or not?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

Dennis Gonguez

“It appears right now that it will be a normal rainy season. We are a little bit behind, a couple weeks behind. The rain should have started in the south around mid-May, we are couple weeks behind, but all indications are that it should be a normal rainy season.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“If we can expect more activity, would you say it would come in the lower part of the hurricane season, closer to the end?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“Well, typically, around the tenth of September to the fifteenth of September is the peak of the hurricane season. For us around here, the major developmental period for us in October; that’s when the systems tend to wander around the western Caribbean and impact Belize. So, we still have to keep an eye out in September and October, although the forecast is for an average to below average activity, we still have to keep our eyes open.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“If you are able to compare it perhaps to a year that Belize has seen, what would you compare it to?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“Last year. Last year, we had just about the same activity that was forecasted for last year. The same variables will be impacting on this year’s hurricane season. El Nino phenomenon will be moderate phase around September and October this year. So, that typically puts a damper on our hurricane season in this part of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. In addition, sea temperatures will be just about average in this area so the tropical cyclones use the warm energies to generate and evolve and strengthen, with average conditions, it’s looking to be an average season to a little below average season.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Would you still advise them to prepare their homes, put on shutters or fix their roof, little things like that, especially if they live in low lying areas?”

 

Dennis Gonguez

“Exactly. We still have to be prepared because we don’t know what strength of system will make landfall if we get hit. So, we still have to be prepared for any eventuality. You have to have your personal plan in place. Know where you are going to shelter, when you are leaving, what you are taking with you and you must have all that prepared so that when the time comes you don’t get confused and get caught out in the cold, so to speak, that if a tropical storm or a hurricane is upon you, you don’t know where you are going.”

 

The Met Service says that during the off-season they have been preparing in the case of an eventuality. One of the things they’ve been doing is performing “in-house” testing of the regional Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model and plans to make the products publically available soon. The WRF has been modified to focus directly over Belize and is expected to resolve and forecast weather systems within nine to ten miles as opposed to the resolution of eighteen to twenty miles presently received from the global models being used. The met service says that this development will greatly improve their forecasting capabilities, and their services will be enhanced by a network of observation stations that is being retrofitted with automatic weather stations capable of providing near real-time weather information to forecasters.

 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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