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CINWS upgrades outlook to ‘slightly above-normal’ season

Local News 13 Jul, 2020 Follow News

CINWS upgrades outlook to ‘slightly above-normal’ season

With a reminder of the disasters which have already struck Cayman and the world so far for 2020, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) is reminding residents to be on the alert now that the Atlantic hurricane season has started.

In its latest update, the agency advises that the projections for the season from Colorado State University have been revised to ‘slightly above normal'.

It adds 15 more storms to the original list including nine which are expected to reach hurricane strength, four of which are likely to be major.

This new outlook is attributed to current above-normal warm sea surface temperatures and other climate factors as indications of ‘an above-normal probability' of major hurricanes making landfall in the Caribbean and United States.

An average hurricane season produces around 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. So far 2020 there have been 5 named storms.

The CINWS says there is usually a low number of hurricanes during the first half of the season which can lead the public to possibly question the accuracy of the forecast.

However, it's the second half of the season which tends to produce very powerful hurricanes some of which form in the western Caribbean where the Cayman Islands are located.

The agency explains that there are three main challenges with these storms at the peak of the hurricane season and some late-season occurrences.

These are; short warning times, erratic paths, and the potential for rapid intensification. Examples of such storms include Mitch of 1998, Michelle of 2001 and Hurricane Paloma of 2009.

The CINWS cautions that residents not aware of the late-season climatology of the region may get caught out preparing for a weak storm but which rapidly develops into a major event.

“As a result residents should always be prepared for the impact of a major storm especially in the latter part of the season,” the agency advises.

The hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.

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