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Photo via NOAA.

Three tropical cyclones could hit Costa Rica this year, experts say



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Published on Tuesday, June 4, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services


According to specialists at the National Meteorological Institute, Costa Rica might be hit by three tropical cyclones this year.


A tropical cyclone is a fast-rotating storm system with a low-pressure core, closed low-level air circulation, high winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that causes heavy rain and squalls. Tropical cyclones generally measure from 62 and 1,243 miles in diameter.


A tropical storm is classified as a hurricane when its winds surpass 74 mph.


"The Caribbean Coast (Limón Province) does not yet have a rainfall high level comparable to the Pacific Coast, said Eladio Solado, a meteorological specialist.


Solano indicates that the atmospheric phenomena known as La Niña will increase the Caribbean Coast rainfall in the second half of the year.


Experts estimate that the first storm referred to as Albert, is expected to impact the Caribbean Coast in July.


The U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecasts above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year.


NOAA’s outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season.


NOAA is forecasting a range of 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). Forecasters have a 70% confidence in these ranges.


The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have above-normal activity due to a confluence of factors, including near-record warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, development of La Nina conditions in the Pacific, reduced Atlantic trade winds and less wind shear, all of which tend to favor tropical storm formation.


"Severe weather and emergencies can happen at any moment, which is why individuals and communities need to be prepared today," said FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik A. Hooks. "Already, we are seeing storms move across the country that can bring additional hazards like tornadoes, flooding and hail. Taking a proactive approach to our increasingly challenging climate landscape today can make a difference in how people can recover tomorrow."


As one of the strongest El Ninos ever observed nears its end, NOAA scientists predict a quick transition to La Nina conditions, which are conducive to Atlantic hurricane activity because La Nina tends to lessen wind shear in the tropics. At the same time, abundant oceanic heat content in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea creates more energy to fuel storm development.


Additionally, light trade winds allow hurricanes to grow in strength without the disruption of strong wind shear and also minimize ocean cooling. "Human-caused climate change is warming our ocean globally and in the Atlantic basin, and melting ice on land, leading to sea level rise, which increases the risk of storm surge. Sea level rise represents a clear human influence on the damage potential from a given hurricane," the weather organization added in its statement.


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What advice would you give travelers visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com




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