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More hurricanes in Pacific this year

El Niño could spell more for Pacific, fewer for Atlantic

Batten down the hatches, there could be some stormy weather on the way, particularly for those on the Pacific side of Mexico.

The National Water Commission, Conagua, has warned that due to the presence of El Niño there could be a greater number of hurricanes this year.

The National Meteorological Service (SMN) and various international weather services have reported the presence of El Niño — measured by higher than average surface water temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean — again this year.

In its first hurricane forecast for 2015 the SMN predicts a higher than average number of named tropical storms — as many as 19 — as a result.

Seven of those storms are predicted to become strong hurricanes — Categories 1 or 2 — and four are intense hurricanes — Categories 3, 4 or 5.

On the other hand, the presence of El Niño has the opposite effect on the Atlantic Ocean side: there ought to be fewer hurricanes than normal.

The Atlantic will see hurricanes drop to a “well below average” number, according to Colorado State University forecasters, due not only to El Niño but to cooler waters in the Caribbean.

They are calling for seven named tropical storms this year, of which three are hurricanes, and one of those a major hurricane with winds of 178 km/h or more.

An average year sees 12 named tropical storms and eight hurricanes, two of those being major, in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1. The Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30.

The Colorado university’s forecasts are based on 60 years of data on surface water temperatures, sea level pressure and other factors.

In the state of Guerrero they’re still rebuilding after the damage left by Hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in 2013. State officials told a press conference yesterday that the New Guerrero Plan has rebuilt and modernized 1,035 roads in 81 municipalities, 138 bridges and six highways at a cost of 12 billion pesos, or US $788 million.

Hurricanes have resulted in extensive loss of life and huge damage costs in Mexico over the years.

Sources: Milenio (sp), Reuters (en)

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