Here’s what that means for hurricane season

Orlando, Fla – It’s the talk of the town now that El Nino is officially here. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially declared El Niño on Thursday.

El Niño is a natural climate phenomenon characterized by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that occurs on average every 2-7 years. El Niño’s impacts extend beyond the Pacific Ocean.

El Niño has varying intensities and, depending on the season, has widespread impacts.

During hurricane season, the Atlantic basin experiences the least active year in terms of number of storms. This is because during El Niño, wind speeds generally increase. Wind shear is detrimental to the development of tropical storms.

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On the other hand, the tropics are more active in the eastern Pacific during El Niño.

There is an 84% chance of a moderate or strong El Niño during the winter.

It’s important to remember that while El Nino typically reduces the number of hurricanes in a given year, it only takes one. For example, 1992 was a below-average hurricane season in terms of number of storms, but it produced Category 5 Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida.

During the 2023 hurricane season, when El Niño is a major suppressor, the Atlantic basin, including the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic, are already above normal in temperature category.

In general, El Nino wins when the influence is strongest, but a very warm Atlantic basin provides more uncertainty than usual about how the season will play out.


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