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Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season Now Underway

May 16, 2015

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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While the tropical Atlantic got an early jump kick start this year with Tropical Storm Ana, the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season officially started Friday. The season continues through the end of November.

In an average Eastern Pacific season, which includes Central America`s and Mexico`s Pacific Coast, 15 to 16 tropical storms with winds of at least 39 mph form. Nine typically become hurricanes with winds in excess of 74 mph while 4 become major hurricanes with winds greater than 111 mph.

Although the season officially is underway, the first few storms don`t form, on average, until late June. The most active part of the season occurs from September into early October. The eastern Pacific typically experiences a higher number of named tropical storms than does the Atlantic Basin. Even so, east to west winds in the eastern Pacific Ocean generally steer most storms away from the U.S., Mexico and Central America coastlines.

Now is the time to make a detailed disaster plan for you and your family should a tropical system head for your area. This includes knowing storm impacts to your home such as flooding, storm surge and wind. Have a disaster supply kit readily available. Also, it`s good to have an escape route in case evacuation orders are issued as well as a list of emergency contact numbers and out-of-state emergency contacts.

The busy 2014 tropical season set all kinds of records in the Eastern Pacific basin. Twenty named storms and 15 hurricanes formed during this season. Right off the bat, Hurricane Amanda became the strongest eastern Pacific hurricane to occur in May during the satellite era. It was the first storm of the season in the eastern Pacific the last week of May.

Just after the flip of the calendar to June, Hurricane Cristina became the earliest second major hurricane on record for the eastern Pacific basin but stayed in the open water and never made landfall. Not to be outdone, Hurricane Karina was the seventh longest-lived tropical cyclone in the eastern Pacific since records began in 1966.

Marie tied for the fourth strongest hurricane in the eastern Pacific while Hurricane Odile tied with Hurricane Olivia in 1967 as the strongest land falling hurricane in Baja California. The season ended with a rare November hurricane that diminished before reaching southwestern Mexico.

2014 was preceded by another above average year in 2013 with 18 named storms and 9 hurricanes. Even 2012 season was a busy season for the Eastern Pacific basin. Seventeen named storms formed, with ten becoming hurricanes and five major hurricanes. The Eastern Pacific had a bit of a lull in 2011 with 11 named storms while only 7 named storms formed in 2010.

Incidentally, the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1.

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