El Nino, wind shear weakening hurricanes this season - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

El Nino, wind shear weakening hurricanes this season

Katrina in 2005 (File) Katrina in 2005 (File)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

The wave of possibilities are endless this hurricane season and still unknown, but hurricanes trying to make their way in the Gulf of Mexico have a tough track ahead of them. 

"Historically, in an El Nino year the shear shuts down the season in the main development region out here for late September and October," Fox 8 Chief Meteorologist Bob Breck said. "It means maybe we've only got another 2 or 3 weeks to kind of pay attention out in the Atlantic and kind of focus more to home." 

El Nino's weather pattern created a number of strong hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean threatening Hawaii, but in the Atlantic Ocean, El Nino typically triggers strong wind shear. 
  
"In an El Nino year, the waters of the pacific get warmer than average," Breck said. "It usually means that you get the winds down across the tropics to blow stronger over our part of the world. That hinders hurricane formation. Go to the other extreme in a La Nina year, the waters are colder than normal and you don't have the wind shear so you tend to see more tropical activity in the gulf and in the Caribbean because you don't have the shear."

"We are expecting El Nino to continue through the winter season," National Weather Service Sr. Forecaster Freddie Zeigler said. "If that continues, we are expecting probably the shear to remain a component across the Caribbean and parts of the central Atlantic it extends out there but not the far eastern Atlantic and that's where hurricane Fred formed near the Cape Verde Islands." 
     
Hurricane Fred surprised forecasters at the NWS in Slidell. 
     
The storm reached hurricane status faster than another other storm on record. 
     
Hurricane Fred is expected to hit the wind shear in five days, and when he does, forecasters say the shear will likely knock the storm down to a tropical depression. 

"I don't want to say I want to rule it out completely but at this time Hurricane Fred does not pose a threat to the Gulf Coast," Zeigler said.      

"Hurricane Danny was a category three at a very brief moment and then came into that shear and it just got blown away. I think this year we are finding shear is king," Breck said. 

The weather experts do urge those along the coast to not let their guard down just because of the El Nino season. 

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed parts of Florida and made landfall in Louisiana during an El Nino.  

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