The last time three eastern-Pacific hurricanes developed this early was 1956.

Misdirected flocks of little, red crabs in California aren’t the only sign of a strengthening El Niño. There was also the bippety-bam-boom emergence of three eastern-Pacific hurricanes since May, something that hasn’t happened since 1956.

The folks at Climate.gov have posted an illuminating guide to what they call a “hyperactive” Pacific hurricane season. The long and short of it is that El Niño is driving up the ocean’s temperature and reducing wind shear, creating the perfect environment for frequent and powerful cyclones. (Though Carlos was weak, both Andres and Blanca reached Category 4 wind speeds of 140 to 150 mph.) Here’s part of that discussion:

On May 27, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued its annual hurricane outlooks for the eastern Pacific hurricane season, the central Pacific hurricane season, and the Atlantic hurricane season. The outlooks for both the eastern and central Pacific hurricane regions called for a 70% chance of an above-normal season. For the eastern Pacific, the predicted ranges of activity (with a 70% likelihood for each range) included 15-22 named storms, with 7-12 becoming hurricanes, of which 5-8 could be major hurricanes. These ranges are centered well above the season averages of 15-16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. If the predicted upper bound of eight major hurricanes occurs, it would tie for the most recorded in the 1971-2014 observational record.

With a strong El Niño predicted for this year, they add, we can likely “expect many more tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes over the eastern Pacific before the season ends” on November 30. That’s not great news for those living in western Mexico. But it’s not such a huge deal for the U.S., as winds tend to steer hurricanes away from the coastline, as shown in this model of storm tracks since 1842:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    What Happens When a City Tries to End Traffic Deaths

    Several years into a ten-year “Vision Zero” target, some cities that took on a radical safety challenge are seeing traffic fatalities go up.

  2. photo: Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar
    Equity

    What a Trillion-Dollar Housing Pledge Looks Like

    Representative Ilhan Omar’s Homes for All Act would fund the construction of 12 million new homes in the U.S. over 10 years, mostly as public housing.  

  3. photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.
    POV

    My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

    A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

  4. photo: Chris Burden's "Urban Light," installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, features several of L.A.'s historic streetlight styles.
    Design

    The Future of the Streetlight Might Be in the Past

    A new competition from the L.A. mayor’s office invites designers to reimagine the rich history of civic illumination and create next-generation streetlights.

  5. MapLab

    MapLab: Killer Apps

    A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

×