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2018 Hurricane Season is officially open

The hurricane season is here and runs until November 30, normally peaking in August and September. We have been following the predictions for this year’s season and last week the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a 75 percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal with 10 to16 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes. But as the hurricane season starts, scientists at the Colorado State University say there could be fewer storms operating at reduced strength. The CSU projects that another 13 named storms will form and accounting for the early development of Alberto in May, the final season total is expected to be 14 . Six of these are forecast to attain hurricane strength, two of which are expected to be major hurricanes at category three or higher.  These are among other projections, which can never be 100 percent accurate. It is important to also note that there’s no way to predict if a hurricane will threaten your area this year. This is why preparedness is important says the Chief Meteorologist at the National Meteorological Service of Belize, Catherine Cumberbatch.

Catherine Cumberbatch, Chief Meteorology Officer: “The norm is for you to have twelve named storms of which of those two become major hurricanes and as I said our forecast is going for normal to slightly above normal and show those projecting agencies that usually monitor these conditions to come up with these forecasts are going for 13 named storms in that range, giving us a normal to slightly above normal activity in the season with emphasis that major hurricanes will be more on the normal scale. But I’ll always say, what do these forecasts really say? It doesn’t say much to us because whether you’re having a normal, below normal or above normal it only takes one system to cause havoc on our country. So as usual we advise all Belizeans to get your hurricane plan, get it activated, be prepared that if such a system arises, which we hope it would not, that we are being prepared for and to face and brace for the 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season.”

The Belizean public is advised to also keep monitoring the information provided by the Met Service, which is well equipped says Cumberbatch.

Catherine Cumberbatch, Chief Meteorology Officer: “We have a very professional set of staff that is the key factor and remember we also have one of the key essential in monitoring any system once it comes within our zone that is our Doppler radar. We are equipped with automatic weather stations that give us real time information all over the country and these come in in real time so we would be able to monitor any system closely as it enters into our zone. So one of these things is that we have a team of professional meteorologists working here, we have our Doppler radar, we have our modernized weather stations that are located across the country so we stand ready in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Organization to face and embrace anything that comes within our zone so that we could disseminate information in a timely and accurate manner to the people of Belize in order to protect and safeguard life.”

The season will run until November 30 but the public should note that storms, like last week’s Subtropical Storm Alberto, can form outside the formal season.