The "Other" Hurricane Season: Pacific Cruise Predictions

June 2, 2010
(3:50 p.m. EDT) -- The year's first named storm has already come and gone, but it wasn't in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Agatha, which pounded Guatemala this weekend, officially kicked off hurricane season in another storm-susceptible region entirely -- the Eastern Pacific.

Cruises were not impacted this time around, but with the Mexican Riviera often in the path of Pacific storms, what can travelers expect throughout summer and fall?

Despite the strong start, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict a mild season in the Eastern Pacific this year. Their official outlook cites a 75 percent chance of a below-normal season with 9 to 15 named storms, of which four to eight will become hurricanes. Of these, one to three are expected to be major hurricanes -- Category Three or stronger, which means winds of at least 111 miles per hour. (An above-normal season, meanwhile, can produce up to 25 named storms.)

This is in contrast to the Atlantic season, which forecasters say could be extremely active -- but that's to be expected. Historically, when the Atlantic experiences above-normal seasonal activity, the Pacific tends to experience below-normal seasonal activity and vice versa.

The Eastern Pacific season runs through November 30, although it starts earlier -- May 15 rather than June 1. Meanwhile, the Central Pacific is also on hurricane alert (June 1 through November 30); NOAA expects the region will see two to three tropical cyclones this year. Though hurricanes rarely hit Hawaii, it has happened.

Stay tuned to Cruise Critic's Hurricane Zone throughout for updates on storms as they pertain to cruise travel.

--by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor

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