Forecasters are calling for normal to above-normal tropical cyclone activity within the Central Pacific this hurricane season.
Three to six tropical cyclones — a category that includes depressions, storms and hurricanes — are expected to pass through the basin this year the Central North Pacific basin this year, said Robert Ballard, science and operations officer at NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. The 2018 Central Pacific hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
The basin, which normally sees four to five cyclones develop, spans an area north of the equator from 140 degrees west longitude to the International Date Line.
In the center’s outlook, issued Wednesday, forecasters said there is a 40 percent chance of both an above-normal season and normal season, and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season. The prediction is based on currently neutral La Nina/El Nino conditions persisting throughout the season.
The 2017 season was a below-normal season with just two tropical cyclones impacting the basin, down from seven in 2016. The year prior, 2015, was a record breaking season with 16 storms passing through the Central Pacific.
Named Central Pacific tropical cyclones for 2018 will begin with “Walaka,” according to the center. Hawaiian names are assigned only to storms that form in the Central North Pacific basin.