Bud becomes a hurricane; expect below-normal Central Pacific hurricane season
Hurricane Bud has become the first hurricane of the 2012 East Pacific hurricane season. Bud is the earliest forming Pacific hurricane since Hurricane Adrian in 2005. Hurricanes in May are relatively rare in the east Pacific. In addition, Bud is the earliest second named tropical storm in the eastern Pacific on record.
Hurricane Bud is currently situated several hundred miles south-southwest of the southwestern coast of Mexico. Since yesterday, the cyclone has strengthened after maintaining its intensity of 40 mph winds in the past couple of days. Latest satellite image shows that the cyclone is forming both a central dense overcast (CDO) and a ragged eye. Bud still has a little more opportunity to strengthen further before encountering adverse conditions with both colder waters and higher wind shear in the next 36 hours. The cyclone is forecasted to move north-northeastward and approach to the southwestern coast of Mexico by the next two to three days. The system could meander near that coast for several days. Mexico’s southwestern coast will likely have heavy rains that could cause mudslides and flash floods on Friday through Saturday.
Figure 1. Latest infrared satellite image of Hurricane Bud. Image courtesy: RAMMB imagery.
NOAA forecasts below-normal 2012 Central Pacific hurricane season
On May 23, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii have released the official forecast of this year’s Central Pacific hurricane season. Forecasters predict a below-normal season with two to four tropical cyclones which include hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions, in the Central Pacific basin. The average season has four to five tropical cyclones. Furthermore, the outlook states that there is a 50% chance of below-normal season, a 30% chance of near-normal season, and a 20% chance of above-normal season. Hawaii is within the Central Pacific region. Although Hawaii will likely have a below-normal hurricane season this year, it is still best to be prepared. Central Pacific hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th.
Updated: 08:21 GMT le 24 mai 2012
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TS Alberto forms off the coast of South Carolina
We are at an early start of hurricane season both in the Atlantic and in the East Pacific. Tropical Storm Aletta had formed over the East Pacific basin just one day before the official start of this basin’s hurricane season. Aletta has now dissipated over the Pacific Ocean. However, we now have the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season: Alberto. It has formed thirteen days before the start of Atlantic hurricane season. According to the ship that is near Alberto's center, it reports that the tropical storm has estimated winds of 60 mph and central pressure of 995 mbar. It is located roughly 130 miles east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. Alberto is the earliest-forming tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin since Tropical Storm Ana in 2003.
According to the latest satellite image and radar, Alberto appears to be a small and well-organized storm, although its low-level circulation is at the edge of its deep convection. The majority of the models are forecasting the tropical storm to slowly meander in its current area and subsequently move in the general northeastward direction and accelerate. There is a possibility that Alberto could make landfall in the Carolinas coast on Monday, as the storm moves northeastward. As a result, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) may put the Carolinas coast under the tropical storm watch later today. Regardless of landfall, the Carolinas coast would receive some rain and some high winds. The cyclone is located in a marginally favorable environment with moderate wind shear, relatively warm waters, and some moist air. Therefore, the storm is expected to intensify slowly before entering to an area of unfavorable conditions. Alberto is predicted to become an extratropical storm by the next 96 hours.
Figure 1. Latest infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Alberto. Image courtesy: RAMMB imagery.
Elsewhere in the tropics
In the eastern Pacific, a tropical disturbance dubbed Invest 92E remains disorganized on satellite images, as it is situated several hundred miles south of Acapulco, Mexico. The low pressure system is moving nearly stationary. However, the system can eventually become a tropical cyclone by the next few days and possibly become the first hurricane of the 2012 East Pacific hurricane season. The NHC is giving this disturbance a 20% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.