In its 2016 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a near-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's 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook indicates that a near-normal hurricane season is most likely. The outlook calls for a 45% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season, and a 25% chance of a below-normal season.
This is a more challenging hurricane season outlook than most because it is difficult to determine whether there will be reinforcing or competing climate influences on tropical storm development. The outlook calls for a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during the 2016 hurricane season:
• 10-16 Named Storms, which includes Alex in JanuaryThe seasonal activity is expected to fall within these ranges in 70% of seasons with similar climate conditions and uncertainties to those expected this year. These ranges do not represent the total possible ranges of activity seen in past similar years. These expected ranges are centered near the 1981-2010 seasonal averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.
• 4-8 Hurricanes, which includes Alex in January
• 1-4 Major Hurricanes
• Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 65%-140% of the median, which includes Alex in January
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.
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