Sunday, April 14, 2024

2018’s Above-average Hurricane Season comes to a close


The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season closed on Friday, November 30th, sparing Belize from any major storms. Classified as an above-average season, there were 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. While Belize fared well, the United States of America, Mexico, and some Caribbean countries sustained more than USD$33.3 billion in damages.
The two strongest storms of the season were Hurricanes Florence and Michael, with winds of 140 and 155 mph and a minimum central pressure of 939 and 919 millibars, respectively. According to the National Meteorological Service of Belize (NMSB), “The major factor that supported the above-normal activity in the North Atlantic was the presence of above-normal Sea Surface Temperatures. In the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, the normal condition was supported by strong vertical wind shear. This makes conditions less conducive for tropical cyclone development.”
Belize was lucky only to have two low-pressure storms that raised alerts at the NMSB. One of these storms evolved into Hurricane Michael. Michael was the second major hurricane of the season on October 9, 2018, as well as the third-most intense hurricane to make landfall on the USA regarding pressure.
NMSB stated that although November 30th marked the closure of the Hurricane season, Belizeans should remain vigilant of weather formations. “History teaches us that systems do form outside of the seasons. One example is Tropical Storm Alberto that formed in May of 2018. The National Meteorological Service takes this time to ask everyone to do a review of their 2018 hurricane plan to see their weaknesses and shortfalls, so they can be better prepared if the need arises in 2019,” said NMSB.
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