Skip Navigation

May-June 2017

Print
Email
ResizeResize Text: Original Large XLarge

International Weather Highlights 2016: Record Heat, El Niño, A Wacky Tropical Cyclone Season

The year began where 2015 left off, with one of the strongest El Niños on record inflicting droughts and floods on various parts of the world, and with global temperatures setting new highs while Arctic ice set new lows. Favorable moisture in the major global crop regions led to near-record crop production.

Bizarre Tropical Storm Seasons

Tropical cyclones wasted no time in setting records again this year, with two storms already forming in January. Alex was only the fourth storm to form in the Atlantic in January since 1851 and the first hurricane since 1938. Alex reached wind speeds of 85 mph on January 14 in the eastern Atlantic, weakening to tropical storm strength (70 mph) the next day as it made landfall in the Azores. Even earlier, a cyclone formed in the Central Pacific near the equator. Tropical Storm Pali was the earliest named storm on record for the Central Pacific, reaching tropical storm intensity on January 7 while some 1,350 miles southwest of Honolulu. There have only been two other known tropical storms in the Central Pacific in January, one in 1989 and another in 1992. Pali reached Category 2 status on January 12 with 100-mph winds, but weakened to depression strength by January 14 while only 2.6° north of the equator. Pali was the strongest January storm in either the central or eastern Pacific of record, and the southern-most storm to form in any month in the Central Pacific (4.7°N).

Weatherwise Contributing Editor DOUGLAS LECOMTE is a retired meteorologist formerly with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.       

The full text of this article is available by subscription only.

In this Issue

On this Topic

© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group · 530 Walnut Street, Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA · 19106