(CMR) Although the first month of the hurricane season has ended without incident in the Cayman Islands, officials continue to encourage residents to have hurricane supplies and plans ready in preparation for the season.
Director General at the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (NWS), John Tibbetts, said that storm forecasting will be somewhat challenging this season due to two separate dynamical events taking place.
“The first dynamic is unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean Sea which tends to lead to greater intensification of hurricanes. The second factor to consider are signs of an El Niño forming in the Pacific. El Niño refers to above-average sea-surface temperatures across the east-central equatorial Pacific, whilst La Nina is cooler water temperatures in the eastern Pacific,” he explained.
Mr. Tibbetts shared that predictions for an El Niño – La Niña cycle is not an exact science; however, the general expectation from the scientific community is that an El Niño will form in the coming months.
He further noted, “At the present time, we don’t know how strong El Nino will be; however, the presence of El Niño would be good news for the Cayman Islands as it tends to hinder tropical cyclone development. This happens as El Niño generates additional vertical wind shear, and these strong upper-level winds weaken tropical cyclones as the upper circulation is blown away from the low-level center.”
As the team at NWS and Hazard Management Cayman Islands continue to gather data, residents are reminded that every season is to be treated and observed with caution.
Residents are encouraged to visit www.caymanprepared.ky for information to assist with making preparedness arrangements for their families, homes, valued belongings, and evacuation plans if necessary.
Experts at the University of Colorado have predicted that the 2023 season will be slightly below average in activity.