Dominicans can breathe a collective sigh of relief as the 2014 hurricane season is predicted to have a below average number of named storms and hurricanes.
According to Dr. Phillip Klotzbach and Dr. William Gray of the Colorado State University, a total of nine named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane (category 3 or higher) are being predicted for the Atlantic Basin. This forecast is below the long-term forecast of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes each season.
The team’s predictions calls for fewer named storms and hurricanes than the forecast released by the Weather Channel released in April. That forecast called for eleven named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes which is slightly below the long-term average.
There are two primary factors influencing this hurricane season’s below-average outlook; cooler than average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the likelihood of at least a moderate El Nino developing later this summer or fall.
“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Niño event this summer and fall appear to be quite high. Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions”, Klotzbach said in a news release from the University.
That is good news for Dominica which lies in the middle of the hurricane path and appears ill-equipped and unable to deal with any major storm or hurricane. Just December, flash floods resulted in millions of dollars in damages to agriculture and road infrastructure from which the island is still recovering.
Notwithstanding the lower than average forecast, Dominicans are being advised to prepare for the hurricane season and take all the necessary precautions to mitigate against any storm.
The hurricane season officially began yesterday and will continue until November 30.