Published On: Tue, Nov 24th, 2015

Another hurricane season closes with Yucatan spared from a major storm

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The Yucatan Peninsula has been lucky in recent years because since 2011 the arrival of a major hurricane has been expected, but that has not happened.

“Luck has protected us from these natural phenomena,” said Juan Vazquez Montalvo, head of the Laboratory of Hydraulics and Hydrology and head of the Meteorological Centre of the Faculty of Engineering of the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY).

With only a few days before the hurricane season ends officially November 30, the hurricane specialist said this time of year was kind to this region, which again escaped the calamity.

“The statistics indicate that every nine or 10 years, the Peninsula is hit by a major hurricane, and the last time a storm of mass destruction came to this region was in 2002, when “Isidoro” devastated all this territory,” he recalled. “That means that statistically in 2011 there should be repeated tragedy, but that did not happen, and neither has it happened in the years after … luck has accompanied us over the years.”

Photo:  Susana Gonzalez/Getty Images) Winds fold a palm tree in half as Hurricane Isidore plowed across the state of Yucatan on September 23, 2002.

Photo: Susana Gonzalez/Getty Images)
Winds fold a palm tree in half as Hurricane Isidore plowed across the state of Yucatan on September 23, 2002.

But people should not be complacent; it would be a mistake to think that hurricanes will not come back, he noted. “Luck prevented the conditions for the formation of these phenomena, but this may change. It’s not to be trusted, we always need to be prepared each year.”

In the case of Quintana Roo, he said that the state is more exposed to the problem. Statistics indicate that part of the country is hit by a major hurricane every six to eight years.

Vazquez Montalvo said that it is difficult for the remainder of November to produce emergence of a hurricane over the Atlantic, due to the weather conditions. Cold fronts already forming are a protective curtain against these disturbances of nature.

“For Yucatan to be hit by a hurricane in the remaining days of November at this time requires the formation of the respective storm off the coast of Africa, which is the main “crib” where these phenomena arise that strengthen as they move to the Caribbean,” he said.

Another region where these cyclones are born is the Gulf of the Mosquitos, which includes Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Colombia, he added. This region, which is the last to be active in the Atlantic season, is where the catastrophic Hurricane “Wilma” was formed.

But it is very difficult with the current conditions that there arises something at this time.

“Another factor that in these days protects our country from these problems is the cold front that entered the Gulf of Mexico and remains there (Nov. 24-25). It is the cold front number 14 and functions as a “buffer” against hurricanes. These conditions led to rainfall, and temperature will not considerably lessen but the atmosphere will cool.

2015 was a normal season, within the historical average of 11 cyclones per year, Vazquez Montalvo said. In total a tropical depression and 11 named cyclones were formed. The latter are broken down as follows: eight tropical storms and three hurricanes. Yucatan was out of their routes.

And of the three hurricanes, one was moderate, Category One (“Fred”), and two intense, Category Three (“Danny) and Four (“Joaquin “). The latter was the one that hit the Bahamas, causing significant damage.

Source: Diario de Yucatan

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