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Arthur Weakening, but Many Hurricanes Forecast

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 05, 2008 02:16 PM

Published: 2008-06-05 14:16:27
Topics: Weather
Countries: Mexico , Belize , Guatemala

The Hurricane Season only started 4 days ago, and already there's a named Tropical Storm and sailors should be aware that a heavy hurricane season is forecast. See earlier news report on the active hurricane season ahead.

Arthur weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday after soaking the Yucatan Peninsula, but still threatened to cause dangerous flooding and mudslides in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

The National Hurricane Centre in Miami warned that remnants of the first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season could still cause potential life-threatening floods and mudslides. Rains could total 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 cm) across portions of Belize, Guatemala and southeastern Mexico, with isolated rainfall up to 15 inches (38 cm) possible. Maximum sustained winds were near 35 miles (55 kph).

While the hurricane season officially began June 01, storms typically reach a peak in late summer.

Last season did not produce the predicted number of storms. There were more named storms but fewer hurricanes than predicted. Those hurricanes that did form intensified rapidly before landfall, and the first-ever record of back-to-back Category 5 landfalls came when Hurricanes Dean and Felix hit Central America. (The names Dean and Felix, along with Noel, a weaker but deadly 2007 Caribbean storm, have been retired.)

The last several months have seen a flurry of science related to global warming and hurricanes. A longtime proponent of the idea that warmer ocean temperatures will produce stronger storms, Kerry Emanuel, has called that hypothesis into doubt. But the government has said that warmer oceans will produce fewer, but stronger storms in the coming decades. The jury, it seems, is still out, as scientists study the complex forces that influence hurricane behavior.

This year, a lingering La Niña (cool pattern) in the Southern Pacific, warmth in the tropical Atlantic, and the strong-phase of a multidecadal storm activity cycle are expected to be driving forces behind an active storm year.