Tuesday, June 03, 2008

2008 Hurricane Seasons Begin in Eastern Pacific and Atlantic

Tropical storms Alma and Arthur, May 29th & 31st

Both the eastern Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons of 2008 were inaugurated within a few days of each other in late May and the first days of June. That these two “season openers” occurred in the same week wasn’t simply a coincidence: they were related. On May 29, thunderstorms over the Pacific Ocean about 250 miles southwest of Nicaragua became Tropical Storm Alma: the first named storm of the 2008 eastern Pacific season. Alma moved north and made landfall on the coast of Nicaragua. As it crossed Central America, the storm fell apart as a circulating system, but the remaining moisture and energy emerged over the Gulf of Honduras to the north. There, on May 30, those remnants spun up into Tropical Storm Arthur: the first named storm of the Atlantic season.

On Thursday, May 29, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite observed Tropical Storm Alma as it was making landfall in Nicaragua. The familiar shape of a hurricane—a pinwheel of clouds spinning around an obvious eye—is hard to make out in the image. The center of circulation was just offshore, south of the city of León. The remains of the storm headed north, and by May 31, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite collected the bottom image, they were helping to fuel Tropical Storm Arthur. The image shows the storm making landfall at Belize.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Alma was the first hurricane ever to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, and it was the first Pacific hurricane to strike anywhere on the coast of Central America since 1949.

Canadian Hurricane Centre Ready to Face 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season

HALIFAX, NS, May 22, 2008 - Environment Canada's Canadian Hurricane Centre is making sure that Canadians are prepared for another active year for hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Numerous international forecast centres have declared that this year will fall in line with the general trend of the last decade," says Peter Bowyer, Program Manager of the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Predictions from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ColoradoState University's Tropical Cyclone Lab and the Tropical Storm Risk Initiative in the United Kingdom predicts that there is a high probability that hurricane activity in the Atlantic will be near or above normal for the 2008 hurricane season.

Canadians have learned that in any given year, it takes only one hurricane to inflict great damage to an area and change our perceptions about our vulnerabilities to hurricanes. Accordingly, Environment Canada encourages Canadians to be storm-ready for hurricane season, prepare the same way each year, and then watch and listen for Environment Canada's hurricane bulletins on the internet at weatheroffice.gc.ca, on Weatheradio, or through their local media.

Last year, two tropical cyclones or their remnants entered Canadian waters. Post-tropical storm Chantal passed over south eastern Newfoundland, while post-tropical storm Noel tracked through the Maritimes and Labrador.

Chantal brought flooding rains of 200 mm/8 Inches causing several municipalities to declare local states of emergency. Noel carried hurricane-force winds (135 km/h/85 mph) and the most powerful coastal waves seen along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast in decades, causing severe coastal damage and resulting in at least one fatality.

Hurricane season officially runs from June through November when the waters of the Atlantic are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones. Hurricanes typically start to really affect Canadian waters a bit later in the season; however, the Centre maintains a year-round vigil.

Environment Canada is responsible for issuing severe weather watches and warnings in Canada for conditions like torrential rain, strong winds, storm surges and high waves that tropical systems like hurricanes can bring.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Bowyer
Program Manager
Canadian Hurricane Centre
Environment Canada

Environment Canada
Media Relations