The U.S. government’s official forecast anticipates a less active than normal Atlantic hurricane season.
Officially, the season starts Monday and run through November. The national Climate Prediction Center says there will be from six to 11 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher of which three to six could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph.
The prediction also says that from zero to two of the hurricanes will be major ones with winds of 111 mph or higher.
The predictions jives with those made by the authoritative Colorado State University forecast which says that the 2015 Atlantic season will be one of the least active since the middle of the 20th century.
The initial Colorado prediction calls for seven named storms of which three will be hurricanes. The 30-year average is 12 named storms and six hurricanes.
Storm conditions in both the Atlantic and Pacific are important to Costa Rica because the instability generated by these conditions can cause heavy flooding and substantial damage here even if the hurricane does not make landfall in the country.
“The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center. “El Niño may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season. We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.” He was quoted in an agency release.
The Colorado forecast provided by Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray also cited the effects of El Niño in the far Pacific.
The Climate Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center are both agencies of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The agencies will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.
The center also issued its outlook for the eastern Pacific. The 2015 outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season. That outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 15 to 22 named storms, of which 7 to 12 are expected to become hurricanes, including five to 8 major hurricanes.
One topical storm, Andres, already is off the Pacific coast of México. Like many Pacific storms, it is moving north northwest. However, some do make landfall in México.
These Pacific storms can cause heavy rains in Costa Rica’s western coast.
A pre-season storm, Tropical Storm Ana, developed off the U.S. coast and brought 45 mph winds into South Carolina earlier this month. The Climate Prediction Center said it counted Ana as one of the six to 11 named storms forecast for this year.