The 2012 Eastern North Pacific Hurricane Season got an early start when Tropical Storm ALETTA generated in the early evening hours on Monday 14 May from a tropical depression. Aletta is moving just north of west at 20 kph with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph. AS the system moves over a generally favorable environment it may strengthen some more over the next 24-36 hours before it reaches a region of cooler surface waters and strong wind shear, which may weaken it.
The region to the east of Aletta, west of Central America and Mexico has been quite active in recent days. While tropical storm Aletta continues tracking westward, there are a couple of large cells of disturbed weather off the mainland over an area that has developed quite warm surface waters over the past two weeks, with sea surface temperatures exceeding 30 Celsius over a large region. Even farther to the east by southeast near Panama and northern South America several large waves of stormy weather can be seen in satellite imagery today.
Farther to the east, all the way over the eastern Atlantic and western Equatorial Africa the tropical wave assembly line is showing some activity, which may soon translate into tropical activity along hurricane alley. It is clear the northern tropics in the western hemisphere are reaching a state that could foster additional cyclogenesis in the near term. The images that follow illustrate these current conditions.
So it is! The 2012 Hurricane Season if off in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Interests in Panama, central America and western Mexico need to closely monitor the eastern Pacific region reaching from southern Mexico to northern South America as it is showing the same large areas of disturbed weather, with rain cells and thunderstorms, that have been prevalent for long periods over the past 2 -3 years.
While we follow these developments in the Pacific, we must turn our attention eastward to Equatorial Africa, the eastern Atlantic, ‘hurricane alley’ and the Caribbean to monitor how the many factors that contribute to cyclogenesis might start to coincide, or not, in days and weeks to come. Along these lines it is interesting to see that the system we have been following over the past two days over the open waters of the Atlantic hit the Azores Islands of Portugal, and while it did not reach cyclonic status it may have caused some problems in those volcanic islands where the combination of steep topography and heavy rains is often conducive to flash flooding events.
Coincidentally with these hydro-meteorological activities, the 26th Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference got underway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today. I am sure there will be plenty of discussion and debate about what the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season may bring to those in and around the basin. Relative to this, it is critically important to keep in mind that it is not about how many tropical cyclones the season will generate, but about the need to pay attention, to be prepared and to always practice mitigation, as one single hit by a hurricane may be enough to cause a disaster, with plenty of damage and human suffering!