Meteorologist: Tropical cyclones likely in September, October, November

CHARLES “Chip” Guard, warning-coordination meteorologist with the Weather Forecast Office on Guam, said Saipan and Tinian could see a nearby tropical cyclone as early as July, but more likely in September, October, and November.

For Rota, he added, tropical cyclones are more likely in October, November and December.

The CNMI, he said, can expect more tropical cyclone activity in 2017 compared to 2016 but not quite as much activity as in 2015.

Guard added that these forecasts can change as the year progresses.

He said the current assessment was based on independent, Pacific-wide typhoon predictions, a locally developed in-house statistical typhoon study, the current and predicted states of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation or ENSO climate pattern, and the historical tropical cyclone activity associated with past ENSO states.

He said the assessment was prepared for the CNMI government and residents.

Guard said that, in the tropics, tropical cyclones generally move from southeast to northwest.

If a tropical storm or typhoon develops west or north of the islands, it will usually move away from the islands, he added.

When El Niño occurs, tropical storms and typhoons begin to develop earlier in the year and farther to the east toward eastern Micronesia, Guard said.

They tend to move toward the west-northwest or northwest, often toward the CNMI, and when La Niña occurs, the storms tend to develop later in the year and west of or near the Mariana Islands, he added.

Guard said the chance of getting a direct hit by a tropical storm or a typhoon is much greater during La Niña, but not as great as during El Niño.

“In general, the odds of Rota, Tinian or Saipan getting a typhoon are about 1 in 7 or about 7 years. In El Niño years, the odds are 1 in 3 about every 3 years, while in La Niña the odds drop to 1 in 10 or about every 10 years.”

An ENSO-neutral state is the transition state between El Niño and La Niña.

Guard said right now the CNMI is in a ENSO-neutral state and will remain so throughout the summer but will be in a weak El Niño state by late summer or fall.

He added that a late El Niño will either be a short-lived or a precursor to a stronger one in 2018.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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