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May-June 2017

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The 2016 Eastern North Pacific Hurricane Season: A Late Start to a Busy Season

Overall tropical cyclone activity during the 2016 eastern North Pacific hurricane season was well above average. Of the 21 tropical storms that formed, 11 became hurricanes, and five reached major hurricane strength (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale). In comparison, the 1981–2010 averages are 15 tropical storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. A disproportionately large number of tropical cyclones formed or moved through the central and western portions of the basin, were long-lived, or strong. This resulted in an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index of 150% of the long-term median value. Interestingly, the formation of the season's first named storm did not occur until July, the second latest such occurrence on record since 1969. However, July, August, and September were especially busy, with 18 named storms occurring during this time, which is the most since 1971 in any three-month time period. Hurricane Newton affected Baja California Sur in September, bringing Category 1 and 2 conditions across this region. Tropical Storm Javier affected the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula the month before, but with only minimal effects. Figures 1 and 2 depict the tracks of the 2016 eastern Pacific tropical storms and hurricanes. 

TODD B. KIMBERLAIN is a Hurricane Specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida

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