Summarising the 2015 season as the end draws near
This is not the final report of the season, but a good time to prepare for it.
General overview Wednesday 28th October 2015
Environmental conditions are generally hostile across the reporting region, from Nouadhibou to Nova Scotia, and Casablanca to Costa Rica. There is a small patch of opportunity between the mid-Atlantic and the eastern seaboard of the United States, but this is closing fast. The Vicar's wife has taken the dust sheet off the piano. Disturbance fifty seven is centred around two days steaming west of the Cape Verde Islands and moving to the west at 15 knots. There are no signs of organisation and development is not expected.
We have had ten named storms, three of which were hurricanes, and two being major hurricanes although DANNY only reached that lofty status for about six hours before reaching the Caribbean. The other two were FRED, which developed around the Cape Verde Islands and farted about uselessly in the eastern Atlantic, and of course JOAQUIN which maintained strong hurricane force for about four or five days. This was the most powerful storm of the Atlantic season, tragically taking the lives of the crew of El Faro and making its mark in the far western Atlantic and Bahamas. The Gulf of Mexico led a charmed existence protected by unrelenting wind shear, having only one single visit from tropical storm BILL, which was a late developer as it headed north but lacked any significant commitment.
The butcher's bill then.
Named storms 10
Major hurricanes 2
The University College London team seem to have been closest, with the exception of having predicted 5 hurricanes rather than 3. Hats off as well to the respected Dr Klotzbach who predicted a ‘boring season'.
Most storms this year were relatively weak. There is a benchmarking tool known as accumulated cyclone energy which totals storm intensities over an entire season. This normally averages around 90-110 points. This year, the Atlantic basin clocked up just 56 of which 28 were racked up by JOAQUIN alone. Three commentators have told me today that this was exactly what they anticipated. Funny that they didn't mention that before the season kicked off, don't you think? Nonetheless, cooler water, dry air and strong upper level shear have impacted on this season.
As for 2016, I don't do forecasts this early, but El Nino is likely to peak at the end of November and we may have a neutral cyclone-favourable season. Seawater temperatures are already starting to rise, so I do think 2016 could be a much busier season.
We will continue to run our daily reports until this cautious old sailor is absolutely sure he can ring Finished With Engines, but that won't be too many days now.
Mid-season, most of you will note that we began adding two images to our daily reports. Behind the scenes, Design agency Advantage London http://www.advantagelondon.com take these reports and the two images, posting one on our website www.watkins-marine.com and on Twitter@watkinsmarine. Simultaneously, they do the same with the other image for our colleagues at Watkins Superyachts on their website www.watkinssuperyachts.com and thereafter by Twitter @watkinsyachts.
Thanks to the many addressees who have sent feedback, engaged in discussion and added comment throughout the season. Always much appreciated.