Hurricane season 2018 is thankfully in the rear-view mirror, and the Cayman Islands emerges unscathed in a slightly-above average year for tropical activity.
National Weather Service director general John Tibbetts joined Cayman 27’s Joe Avary to recap the season.
With 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes, the 2018 hurricane season lived up to the predictions, said Mr. Tibbetts.
“They had predicted 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes, so the numbers were not particularly far off, they predicted two less named storms than what you got, and one hurricane and one major hurricane,” said Mr. Tibbetts.
Though it was a fairly active season, much of the storm activity happened outside the northwest Caribbean.
“The ones that were of interest to the Cayman Islands or had some impact on us, was sub tropical storm Alberto back in May, which just produced some rough seas in our area,” said Mr. Tibbetts. “We had the remnants of Isaac in September, that had some rough seas and some flooding, and then the big one that ended up being a scare for us, but a lot worse for the United States was tropical depression number 14, which actually became hurricane Michael.”
Call it a dodging a bullet: Michael brought nothing more than rough seas to Cayman when it developed at our doorstep. By the time it made landfall on the Florida panhandle, it had become a category four storm.
One wild card for the season: The El Niño & La Niña cycle.
“Coming into the start of the hurricane season, we had a mild La Niña in place, and within the first month that had disappeared and we moved toward a neutral phase in the cycle,” explained Mr. Tibbetts. “That neutral phase remained through most of the season, until we got up to October and November where the El Niño started to try and form up.
He said the late season El Niño worked in our favour, hindering conditions for storm development.
As always, Mr. Tibbetts stressed no two hurricane seasons are alike.
“You need to take each season as it comes, and you need to in fact take each store message comes because you have an active season in the storm still don’t affect the Cayman Islands, so we need to take it storm by storm,” said Mr. Tibbetts.
Mr. Tibbetts told Cayman 27 now that the season’s over, we can all enjoy the winter weather for a few months. He said come April and May, it will once again be time to make sure everything is in order for next hurricane season.