In its 2015 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a below-normal season, but says “that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.” Key information from their report includes:
For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1-November 30, NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). While a below-normal season is likely (70 percent), there is also a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.Should you avoid a cruise from the first of June until the hurricane season ends on the 30th of November? Judging by my experience, I would say not necessarily. After more than two decades of covering the cruise industry and more than a hundred personal sailings, we have only encountered a cruise altering hurricane situation once. Our voyage on what we began to call the Hurricane Sandy Cruise began with a bus trip up I-95 from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville, Florida to board Holland America Line’s Eurodam for the Malt Shop Memories Cruise in late-October 2012. We hadn't given hurricane season a thought because it had been a light storm year hurricane-wise and the official season was nearly over. We were well taken care of by Holland America Line and our Entertainment Cruise Productions hosts for the Malt Shop Memories Cruise in terms of getting us on board and enjoying our cruise; however, the weather is certainly something to think about. Hurricane Sandy could have sunk our trip.
“The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “El Niño may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season. We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.”
Travel insurance is an important consideration to cover cruisers in such situations. For more information on what to expect, Cruise Diva takes an in-depth look at what’s in store if your vacation plans find you Cruising Into Hurricane Season.
Image Courtesy NOAA/NASA