Prolonged El Nino will lead to higher chance of off-season storms

NOAA map

It’s not just the rain and humidity that are affected by El Nino. Hurricanes are too.

With El Nino sticking around longer, so is the threat of tropical cyclones.

KHON2 went to the National Weather Service to dig deeper into what this means for us.

Forecasters tell us normally, September is the peak of the hurricane season, and there is a decline in hurricane activity in October and November.

But with El Nino sticking around, we could see more late-season storms.

It’s even possible that the season could extend into December and January as El Nino keeps a pool of much warmer waters to the south of Hawaii, forecasters say.

“I’d say given that ocean temperatures are warm and that we’ve had a fairly active year, it would not be unheard of to see a cyclone develop sometime after Nov. 30, sometime in December or January. It’s very possible,” said Matthew Foster with the National Weather Service.

So far this year, we’ve seen 13 named tropical cyclones either form or enter the Central Pacific. That breaks the record of 10 set in 1992 and 1994.

“Usually tropical cyclones need 80 degrees for them really to get the energy to form, so the hurricane season will continue to be fairly active at least until the ocean temperatures go down in late fall and early winter,” Foster said.

Our first storm of the season also formed about a month earlier than last year’s record-setting storm.

The good news is we may be in for a short break in tropical storm activity.

Forecasters say they aren’t seeing anything else forming in their models.

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