Active hurricane season forecast for west coast of Mexico - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Active hurricane season forecast for west coast of Mexico

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An El Niño developing in the East Pacific Ocean favors the development of tropical systems in this area. This is the reason the 2014 forecast is for an average or above-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes off the west coast of Mexico and Central America. The East Pacific Ocean hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30 each year. 

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The National Hurricane Center (NHC) here in the United States released the official forecast on Thursday, May 22. According to the NHC the "outlook calls for a 50% chance of an above-normal season, a 40% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below normal season."

"The key climate factor behind the outlook is the likely development of El Niño this summer. El Niño decreases the vertical wind shear over the eastern tropical Pacific, favoring more and stronger tropical storms and hurricanes," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, part of the U.S. National Weather Service. "The eastern Pacific has been in an era of low activity for hurricanes since 1995, but this pattern will be offset in 2014 by the impacts of El Niño."

The NHC forecast is calling for a 70% chance of 14 to 20 named storms. Of these named storms 7 to 11 are forecast to become hurricanes; 3 to 6 of which could become major storms, measured as Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The equivalent of the NHC in Mexico is a division of the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Their forecast is for 14 named storms, 7 of those becoming hurricanes with 5 strengthening into major storms. 

Below is a list of names for the East Pacific Hurricane Season. The first hurricane of the season, Amanda, formed on May 23. 

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