NOAA 2007-R213
Contact: Carmeyia Gillis
NOAA News Releases 2007
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12 to 16 Named Storms Predicted

In contrast to the 2007 North Atlantic seasonal hurricane outlook, experts at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center are projecting a 70 percent chance the East Pacific hurricane season will be below normal, a 25 percent chance that the season will be near normal, and only a five percent chance the season will be above normal.

“For the 2007 East Pacific hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 12 to 16 named storms, with six to nine becoming hurricanes, of which two to four could become major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. An average East Pacific hurricane season brings 15 to 16 named storms, with nine becoming hurricanes, and four to five being major hurricanes.

The climate patterns responsible for the expected 2007 activity are the ongoing multi decadal signal, and the El Niño/La Niño cycle. The multi-decadal signal reflects the overall set of conditions behind the pronounced reduction in eastern Pacific activity (and the corresponding increase in Atlantic hurricanes) since 1995. This contrasts to the period 1970-1994, when there were more East Pacific hurricanes and fewer Atlantic hurricanes. The second key predictor for the 2007 East Pacific hurricane season is the strong likelihood of either ENSO-neutral or La Niña conditions during the season, which also favors reduced activity.

“Both the multi-decadal signal and the El Niño/ La Niña cycle tend to produce a seesaw effect between the East Pacific and North Atlantic hurricane seasons,” said Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead East Pacific and North Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecaster at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Md. “When there is above normal seasonal activity in the Atlantic there tends to be below normal activity in the eastern Pacific. We expect to see this seesaw effect again this year.”

Most East Pacific tropical storms track westward over open waters and never reach land. However, some eventually strike Hawaii and occasionally some head toward the northeast, often bringing rainfall to the arid southwestern United States. Others can strike Mexico and Central America.

Last year, the East Pacific hurricane season was near normal, with 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes and five major hurricanes. The unexpected rapid development of El Niño was a major contributing factor to that heightened activity compared to recent years.

The East Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November, with peak activity from July through September.

Despite today’s announcement of a below-normal season in 2007, coastal residents and businesses are encouraged to be prepared and stay informed throughout the entire season. “It only takes one hurricane to make landfall where you are to create havoc in your life,” said Bill Proenza, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center.

The East Pacific Hurricane Seasonal Outlook is an official forecast product of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Instituted in 2005, this outlook is produced in coordination with NOAA scientists at the Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center and Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. The National Hurricane Center has hurricane forecasting responsibilities for the East Pacific as well as the North Atlantic basins. The Climate Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center are two of nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which provides the U.S. with first alerts of weather, climate, ocean and space weather events.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

On the Web:

East Pacific Seasonal Hurricane Outlook (Technical Product):

National Hurricane Center: