Filed Under:Risk Management, Weather Risk

Expect a slow start to the eastern Pacific hurricane season

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's Pacific Coast on Oct. 23, 2015. (NOAA via AP)
This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's Pacific Coast on Oct. 23, 2015. (NOAA via AP)

(Bloomberg) -- The eastern Pacific hurricane season is starting off with a whimper.

While one short-lived tropical storm developed off Mexico’s Pacific coast last week, the earliest on record, computer models say another one isn’t likely soon, said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tropical Storm Adrian formed before the start of the season Monday, but fizzled out before becoming a threat to people or property.

Related: 5 ways businesses can prepare for hurricane season

“It doesn’t look like we are going to have a record-early second storm,” Masters said by telephone.

Flooding danger for Southwest U.S.

Pacific storms don’t have the same potential to disrupt energy and agriculture markets as those that form in the Atlantic. Still, they can cause massive damage to Mexico’s Pacific coast and may even spark flooding across the U.S. Southwest.

In an average year, 15 named storms form in the Pacific basin, eight of which become hurricanes with four developing into major systems, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Pacific season runs to Nov. 30.

19 named storms predicted

This year, there could be 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes and seven major systems in the basin, according to AccuWeather Inc. In 2016, 21 named storms formed off Mexico.

A storm is named when winds reach at least 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour. In 2014, Hurricane Odile struck Baja California, killing 11, stranding 30,000 tourists and causing about $1 billion in damage to roads, communication lines and buildings.

Ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific near Mexico are warmer than normal, which fuels budding hurricanes and tropical storms, Masters said. That effect would be accelerated should an El Nino form in the equatorial Pacific.

Lower odds for El Nino to form

On Thursday, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center lowered the odds for a weather-changing El Nino to form. The phenomenon occurs when the Pacific surface waters warms and the atmosphere above it reacts.

The next named storm in the eastern Pacific hurricane will be Beatriz. Tropical systems that reach hurricane strength west of the International Dateline are called typhoons, and typically occur throughout the year. The Atlantic storm season begins June 1.

Related: 7 things to do to prepare for hurricane season

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