Storm system approaches Caribbean – Forecasters: extremely active hurricane season

POSTED: 07/8/13 12:35 PM


A strong tropical wave is on its way; there is a 60 percent chance it will turn into a hurricane within the next 48 hours.

St. Maarten – The Caribbean is in for an extremely active hurricane season according to several sources. Jan Gelfand, the operational director America for the International Red Cross warned this weekend that the hurricane season will be 30 percent stronger than the average for the past century. Philip Klotzbach and William gray at the department of Atmospheric science of the /Colorado state University who have been tracking hurricane activity for thirty years,  says in the rune-report that there is a 61 percent chance that at least one major hurricane (category 3, 4 or 5) will cross the Caribbean this season. The average chance over the past century is, according to Klotzbach and Gray 42 percent.

At the moment there is a strong tropical wave approaching the Caribbean. Its position was yesterday afternoon 1150 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands, moving westward at 25 miles per hour.

According to the National Hurricane Center NHC based in Miami shower and thunderstorm activity in the system “continues to show signs of organization. Recent satellite wind data indicate that a closed surface circulation may be forming.”

The NHC warns that a tropical depression or a tropical storm could form at any time.”This would require a tropical storm watch or warning for portions of the Lesser Antilles. The system has a high chance – 60 percent – of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.”

The International Red Cross expects sixteen tropical storms this season and eight major hurricanes. The meteorological institute in Cuba anticipates that the island will be hit by a major hurricane this season.

Latin-America and the Caribbean have the highest number of natural disasters in the world and rank second with the number of casualties from these events.

The Red Cross has developed a system to collect information about victims via cell phones and barcodes. The waiting time for assistance can be reduced from several hours to a couple of minutes, Gelfand said, “We have the possibility to register victims without paperwork.”

Klotzbach and Gray have developed a system to predict the chances of tropical storms and hurricanes making landfall at particular islands in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the system is not very detailed for St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba, let alone the BES-islands, because they are all still grouped under the defunct Netherlands Antilles.

This way, chances for a names storm to pass within 50 miles is 11 percent and within 100 miles 24 percent; for a hurricane these chance are 2 and 8 percent. Changes for a major hurricane passing within 50 miles is below 1 percent and for passing within 100 miles 3 percent.

The numbers for nearby St. Kitts and Nevis are significantly less favorable. For instance, the chance that these islands will experience a named storm within 50 miles is 44 percent.

Mexico (93 percent), The Bahamas (89 percent) and Cuba (88 percent) seem to be as good as certain that a named storm will get real close to their territories.

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