Friday, June 21, 2024

2023 Hurricane Season wraps up; Belize spared


The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended on Thursday, November 30th, and was deemed very active in terms of the number of named storms. The season produced 20 named storms, ranking in fourth place for the most named storms in a season since the year 1950.
While Belize was spared, the season saw seven hurricanes, three of which intensified to major storms from categories three and higher as per the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The season usually runs from June 1st to November 30th, with an average season seeing 14 named storms. The last months of the 2023 season saw many of these storms diverting from Belize and only caused periods of torrential rains in the country. Some of these major weather disturbances included Category 4 Hurricane Idalia, which landed as a Category 3 storm in Florida, United States of America (USA). It was the only hurricane that made landfall in the USA in 2023. In September, Hurricane Lee landed in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Tropical Storm Ophelia hit the North Carolina coast in the USA. Other weather systems dissipated on the North Atlantic Ocean.
This change in activities in the Atlantic Basin was said to have been due to the El Niño weather pattern. This weather phenomenon begins as a warming of waters in the eastern tropical Pacific, resulting in sinking air over the Atlantic Basin. Scientists say it increases wind shear and/or changes winds with height in the tropical Atlantic. This change is said to disrupt storm development; thus, areas like Belize were unaffected by the major hurricanes during this season. However, the record-warm waters this time, believed to be caused by human-influenced climate change, helped to fuel the storms that led to a very active 2023 Hurricane Season.
The National Meteorological Service of Belize and the National Emergency Management Organization encourage everyone not to let their guard down and to prepare for the 2024 Hurricane Season. Future hurricane seasons are expected to become more unpredictable, so extra precaution is advised.

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