General — 11 June 2016 — by Micah Goodin
Belize prepares for average hurricane season and possibly, La Niña

BELMOPAN CITY, Cayo District, Tues. June 7, 2016–Today, the National Meteorology Service held its National Climate Outlook Forum with a focus on the rainy season and by extension, the Atlantic Hurricane season.

Catherine Cumberbatch, Deputy Chief Meteorologist at the Met Service, in addressing those in attendance at the forum, said, “This is a forum where we have stakeholders’ consultation about the climate service and seasonal outlook products that we produce. Specifically, the products that we are talking about for this forum is the seasonal rainfall outlook and temperature outlook for the wet season, which runs from June to November, and what are the projections for drought.”

Though this year’s hurricane season is projected to be normal, Cumberbatch told Amandala that such an overall outlook provides no indication of whether or not Belize could be hit by a major storm this season.

“My advice is to rely on your hurricane plan that you have, review it, get with your family, sit down and see if a system, despite what the forecast is saying, comes along, we are all prepared,” she added.

While it is not possible to forecast with certainty whether we will be struck by a hurricane, experts have indicated that there is a great possibility of the development of the La Niña, which is associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, and which could possibly create more storm activity.

According to Adrian Trotman, Chief of Applied Meteorology and Climatology for the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, “Unlike the last three years where we had less activity related to tropical cyclones, and by tropical cyclones I am talking tropical storms and hurricanes, this year is expected to be at least a normal hurricane season.”

However, Trotman added: “Or it could be even more active; some of that depends on the potential for a La Niña. For the last couple years, all you were hearing was El Niño. El Niño is a driver of conditions; the La Niña in the Caribbean is a driver of more convective activity, and it is that convective activity that drives more storms. The La Niña is now highly probable and what we are doing now is, we’re recognizing that the activity of the seas is not going to be like the last three years; it is going to be a normal season at least, and we’re particularly focused that should La Niña develop, it might even increase the activity.”

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