The Daily Review/Bill Decker
A crew works to restore electricity in the Patterson area July 14 after Tropical Storm Barry.
El Nino fades, and hurricane forecasts rise
WASHINGTON— Government meteorologists say this year’s hurricane season may be busier than initially expected now that summer’s weak El Nino has faded away.
St. Mary has already had a brush with tropical weather with Tropical Storm Barry, which came ashore July 13 at Intracoastal City.
Despite dire warnings about torrential rain, Barry’s greatest impact was wind and the impact on the region’s power system. Most of the parish was without power most of the weekend.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday the Atlantic season looks more active than normal as peak hurricane season begins. Forecasters now expect 10 to 17 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes and two to four major ones.
In May, they forecast a normal season, one or two fewer named storms and hurricanes.
Forecaster Gerry Bell says the end of El Nino means more hospitable hurricane conditions. El Nino is the periodic warming of parts of the Pacific that affects weather worldwide and dampens storm activity.
Hurricane season is June through November. So far, there have been two named storms, with one hurricane.
While El Nino is believed to suppress hurricane formation and intensification, the phenomenon doesn’t halt hurricanes. Two notably destructive storms, Audrey in 1957 and Andrew in 1992, occurred during years dominated by El Nino patterns.