What’s the weather like cruising the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during June?

JUNE

ATLAS OF PILOT CHARTS JUNE

Wind

Caribbean Sea
Easterly winds mostly Beaufort force 4 (11-16 knots) prevail this month except force 5 (17-21 knots) over the central Caribbean north of Columbia. Over the southwestern Caribbean the wind will back more into the northeast and diminish to mostly forces 3-4 (7-16 knots). Over the northwestern Caribbean, winds tend to be more from the east to east-southeast force 4 (11-16 knots).

Gulf of Mexico
East to southeast winds, mostly forces 3-4  (7-16 knots) prevail.

Waves

Generally waves will average 2-5 feet (0.5-1.5 meters) however, over the Central Caribbean, waves average 6-8 foot (2-2.5 meters).  The risk for encountering rough seas of 8 feet (2.4 meters) or higher is less than 10% across the Gulf of Mexico, the northwestern and easternmost Caribbean, however, the risk increases to 20-30% over the central Caribbean Sea, especially north of Columbia. 

Temperature 

Over the Gulf of Mexico air temperatures average near 81-84 F (27-29 C) over the Gulf of Mexico and the western and central Caribbean Sea but 80-82 F (27-28 C) over the eastern Caribbean.

Overall, most Caribbean destinations see morning lows of 74-80 F (23-27 C) with daytime highs 86-92 F (30-33 C). The hottest locations are Aruba, Cancun, Cozumel and the Caymans with afternoon high temperatures averaging at or above 90 F (32 C). 

Sea Temperature 

Sea surface temperatures average 81-83 F (27.5-28.5 C) for most of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea this month, except 80-82 F (27-28 C) in the eastern Caribbean.

Rainfall

Rainfall continues to increase in the Caribbean during June, however, Aruba remains dry with Antigua and St. Maarten also being relatively dry this month. Higher rainfalls are likely in Central America, especially Belize and Costa Rica.  In addition, the Bahamas also see heavier rainfalls during June.

 Tropical Cyclones

The risk for tropical cyclones increases in June with the highest risk (10-17%) occurring over the Gulf of Mexico and an 8-11% in the Northwest Caribbean Sea. The risk diminishes to 3-5 % for the Southwest Caribbean and 2% or less for the eastern Caribbean. 

TC Risk June

Frequency Occurrence of Tropical Cyclones in June  (SST shown in Green)

 

 

 

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North Atlantic Weather Routes limited by Icebergs

500 mb chart

NOAA OPC 72 hour 500mb Forecast Chart

Upper-level blocking over the northeastern North Atlantic into northwestern Europe and a large cut-off low over the central North Atlantic, south of 40N latitude, will persist for the next few days. This pattern will allow for relatively light easterly winds and seas to persist across the North Atlantic north of  45N while strong to gale conditions persist south of 45N all the way down to 25N over the west-central North Atlantic. 

NOAA OPC 72 hour Surface Forecast

This pattern should allow shorter great circle routes between North Europe and the US East Coast, however, at this time the North Atlantic icebergs are drifting southward off of Newfoundland to near 45 N latitude limiting the shorter route options to keep clear of the icebergs.

North Atlantic Iceberg chart via North American Ice Service

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What’s the weather like cruising the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during May?

satellite

Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea

The weather cruising the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during May is excellent with light to moderate winds and low risk for gales.

Wind

East to Northeast trade winds of Beaufort forces 3-4 (7-16 knots) prevail across the Caribbean during May with somewhat higher winds of Beaufort forces 4-5 (11-21 knots) prevailing off the coast of Columbia. Over the Gulf of Mexico, east to southeast winds of Beaufort forces 3-4 (7-16 knots) prevail, except east to northeast winds in the Bay of Campeche.  The risk for gale force winds is very low for both the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico this month. 

Pilot Chart of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea for May

Waves

The risk for rough seas of 8 feet (2.4 meters) or higher is less than 10% across the Gulf of Mexico, the northwestern Caribbean and the easternmost portion of the Caribbean. This risk increases to 10-20 % over the central Caribbean Sea with a somewhat greater than 20% risk concentrated off the coast of Columbia. 

Temperature 

Over the Gulf of Mexico air temperatures average near 77 F (25 C) over the northwestern Gulf, warming to around 80-81 F ( 27 C) in the Bay of Campeche and near the Yucatan Channel.  In the Caribbean, air temperature averages around 80-81 F (27 C) throughout. Most destinations in the Caribbean will experience daily morning low temperatures ranging from 74-80 F (23-27 C)  with afternoon high temperatures 80-92 F (30-33C).

Sea Surface Temperature 

Sea surface temperatures average around 77 F (25C) over the northwestern Gulf, increasing to 81-82 F (27-28C) over the Bay of Campeche and near the Yucatan Channel.  In the Caribbean, sea temperatures are mostly 81-82 F (27-28 C) with the warmest waters over the westernmost Caribbean. 

Rainfall

May begins the rainy season in the western Caribbean, including Cancun, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica as well as parts of the Bahamas. Drier conditions remain in most of the eastern and southern Caribbean locations, although rainfall amounts start to increase in the Windward Islands.

Tropical Cyclones

The risk for tropical cyclones

Frequency of Tropical Cyclones in 5-Degree Squares during May

begins to increase this month with a 1-3 % risk for encountering a tropical cyclone over the Gulf of Mexico and western Caribbean Sea. The risk remains 1% or less over the eastern Caribbean. 

 

 

 

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Tropical Cyclone Halima now a Cat 4 Storm

tc Halima

Tropical Cyclone Halima over the South Indian Ocean

Tropical Cyclone Halima over the South Indian Ocean has intensified into a Category 4 hurricane with max winds of 120 knots and significant wave heights to 35 feet (10.7 meters).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halima is moving south-southwest at 5 knots and is forecast to track southward over the next 36 hours with additional intensification to near 130 knots over the next 12 hours.

Thereafter, Halima should turn more towards the southeast then east with gradual weakening.

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North Atlantic Maritime Weather Outlook

500 mb

NOAA OPC 72 hour 500 mb Forecast

An upper-level ridge will build near and over Ireland during the next few days resulting in a strengthening surface high pressure area which will block North Atlantic storms from Northern Europe.

 

 

 

At the same time, a cut-off upper low near Morocco, will enhance surface low pressure over northwestern Africa causing strong to gale force winds and rough seas over the western Mediterranean Sea.    

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sfc fcst

NOAA OPC 72 hour Surface Forecast

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What can we expect for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season?

Hurricane Dorian

Visible satellite image Hurricane Dorian Sept. 1, 2019 making landfall on Elbow Cay in The Bahamas. Image credit: NOAA/RAMMB

Will 2022 bring yet another very active hurricane season or will it be more in-line with the long-term average of 12-13 named storms, 6-7 hurricanes and 2-3 major hurricanes? 

The Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) over the Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR)  have been cooling since mid February,  especially in the eastern half of the region.  More than half of all hurricanes and nearly 80% of major hurricanes develop in the MDR, so if this cooling trend continues, fewer major hurricanes will develop this season. Development of tropical cyclones requires heat energy from the ocean surface and generally requires SSTs of at least 26.5 C (80 F).

MDR

North Atlantic Main Development Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In recent years we have seen a cool pattern of SST anomalies develop during the winter months over the MDR. particularly over the eastern half, only to have temperatures return to warmer than normal during the late summer and autumn months. The question is will this pattern repeat itself this year or not?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

An important factor driving an active versus inactive Atlantic hurricane seasons is the strength of the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation (AMO).  

amo

Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation (AMO)

The AMO is a series of long-duration changes in the sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean, with cool and warm phases that may last for 20-40 years at a time. These changes are natural and have been occurring for at least the last 1,000 years. A positive (warm) phase of the AMO can result in a season that has 3-5 times more major hurricane activity than does a negative (cool)  phase. The phase of the AMO also has a strong correlation with the number of hurricane landfalls striking Florida, the U.S. east coast and the Caribbean.

During the last cool phase of the AMO (about 1970-1995) tropical cyclone activity was suppressed compared to the current and previous warm phases.  Since the mid 1990s the warm phase of the AMO has prevailed, characterized by some record setting hurricane seasons including many notable landfalls.  Given that the last AMO phase shift (Cool to Warm) occurred over 25 years ago, the shift back to the cool (from the current warm phase) is likely within the next 5-7 years and when this occurs, we will experience a reduction in Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. 

North Atlantic Major Hurricanes 1920-2017 Source: Judith Curry 2019

 

 

Another factor affecting the Atlantic hurricane season is the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. During the cool La Niña phase, westerly winds high in the atmosphere weaken which tend to favor tropical cyclone activity over the North Atlantic.  During the warm El Niño phase, winds increase which suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. 

Currently we are in the cool La Niña phase which should tend to enhance  Atlantic hurricane activity.  If the current trend towards cooler SSTs continues in the Atlantic MDR continues into the peak of the hurricane season, then there will be a dampening effect which could tend to reduce overall Atlantic activity, although with an active  La Niña present, the season could still be above the long-term average.  If, however, the MDR SSTs warm again as they have in recent years then this season could be just as active as the last one.  

Sources:

NOAA National Hurricane Center 

Special Report: Hurricanes and Climate Change, Judith Curry  

Alabama Weather Blog 

Tropical Tidbits  

National Center for Atmospheric Research: Climate Data Guide 

QUALITATIVE DISCUSSION OF ATLANTIC BASIN SEASONAL HURRICANE ACTIVITY FOR 2022,Colorado State University

THE INTERANNUAL VARIABILITY OF HURRICANE ACTIVITY IN THE ATLANTIC AND EAST PACIFIC REGIONS

El Niño & La Niña (El Niño-Southern Oscillation)

 

 

 

 

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North Pacific Marine Weather Outlook

500 mb chart

NOAA OPC 500 mb Forecast Chart

The prevailing upper-level jet will be oriented mostly west to east across the North Pacific south of 45 N latitude. 

 

 

 

 

The prevailing low tracks for the next several days across the North Pacific will be from Japan near 40N latitude east-northeastward to near 45N/155W then northeastward.

Sfc forecast

NOAA OPC Surface Forecast Chart

Expecting frequent gale to storm force winds and seas near and south of lows.

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Hurricane-Force Storm to Develop over Northwest North Atlantic

NOAA OPC Surface Forecast 12  March 1200 UTC

A rapidly deepening low over the eastern US Saturday will move northeast across the Gulf of St, Lawrence to just north of Newfoundland by Sunday morning reaching near the southeast coast of Greenland by early Monday as an intense 930 mb hurricane-force storm with max winds to 80 knots and significant wave heights to 14 meters (46 feet) south of the center.

72 hr forecast

NOAA OPC Surface Forecast 24 March 1200 UTC

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Tropical Cyclone Gombe to intensify over Mozambique Channel

TCf gombe

Satellite Image Tropical Cyclone Gombe via JTWC

Tropical Cyclone Gombe, currently located over the northern portion of Madagascar has been moving westward at about 10 knots with max winds of  around 30 knots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gombe will move out over the Mozambique Channel during the next 12-18 hours, then favorable conditions will allow for the system to  strengthen fairly rapidly to hurricane force winds prior to landfall over Mozambique south of Nacala about 1800 UTC on the 11th.

storm track

Tropical Cyclone Gombe Forecast Track via JTWC

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North Pacific Marine Weather Outlook

NOAA OPC 500 mb Forecast Chart

A blocking ridge has re-established itself over the eastern North Pacific, effectively shunting storm tracks from the western North Pacific northward towards the eastern Bering Sea. At the same time, a large semi stationary upper-level and surface level low prevail over the northwestern North Pacific which continues to depress the prevailing jet and storm tracks south of 40 N over the western North Pacific. 

NOAA OPC 48 hour Surface Forecast

 

The eastern ridge is expected to gradually weaken and drift southeastward later this week.

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