The 2017 hurricane season is one that Caribbean people will not soon forget, but at least it’s over, according to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC).
November 30th, 2017, officially marked the last day of the 2017 hurricane season, much to our delight, with room temperature weather of about 28 degrees Celsius in Antigua and Barbuda.
But when the season began on June 1st, 2017, no one in our region expected such devastation.
Deputy Director at the Antigua Meteorological Service, Dale Destin said “This year’s hurricane season has been described as hyperactive.”
An average year, Destin said, characteristically brings 12 named tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes. Three of those hurricanes typically reach category three or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
This year, however, a total of 17 named storms formed in the Atlantic, with 10 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes. Three of them reached category 4/5 status in a matter of days and caused billions in damage to nine Caribbean countries.
And although 2016, was not much different in terms of activity, boasting 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, it could not compare to the devastation that the 2017 hurricane season brought to the region.
In fact, Destin told Antigua Newsroom, that this year’s season was the 7th most active since 2005, when there were 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and 7 major hurricanes.
The climatologist’s advice for next year is to be prepared, noting that “it is likely only a matter of time before each one of our islands get hit with a category 5 hurricane.”
He explained that climate change has not quite kicked in with respect to having an impact on tropical cyclones, but it is expected to do so and cause more intense hurricanes.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s not the best of news but it’s a reality that we have to face and try to prepare as best as possible to deal with it,” he said.
And despite forecasts which suggest that more hurricanes or storms will form in December, Destin said that he has no information to suggest that it will happen this year.
He explained that while it is not unheard of for hurricanes or tropical cyclones to form outside of the hurricane season, “November has been very quiet and often times whenever we get some happening in December, they normally come after we would have had a fairly active November.”
The climatologist meanwhile said that it is too early for anyone to make a forecast into what the 2018 hurricane season will be like.
“There can be no credible forecast for next year because next year is just too far away so any forecast we hear talking about next year, just take it with a whole lot of salt or perhaps don’t even listen to it,” he said.