1985 Pacific Hurricane Season - Seasonal Summary

Seasonal Summary

This year, 25 tropical cyclones formed in the eastern north Pacific (140°W to North America). Of those systems, three never strengthened beyond the depression stage, while 22 were named. This total was six storms above the 1966-1985 average seven above the 1971-2006 average and nine above the 1949-2006 average. With a total 26 tropical cyclones and 24 named storms, this season was the most active on record, breaking the short-lived record held by the 1983 season. The 1992 season has surpassed this record, but this season remains the second-most active overall.

Of the named systems, ten peaked as tropical storms, 12 as hurricanes, and 8 reached the intensity of major hurricanes by attaining Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. The season lasted 170 days, three days longer than the 1984 Pacific hurricane season, but still then days longer than normal. The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center (EPHC) issued 620 bulletins during the season, 35 more than the 1984 Pacific hurricane season. In the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's area of responsibility (140°W to the International dateline), three tropical cyclones formed. One of those stayed as a depression. Another strengthened into a hurricane, and the other one crossed into the northwestern Pacific before eventually returning to the central Pacific.

Although meteorologists expected a below-normal season, the season got on to a fast start though no storms formed in May. The activity picked up significantly thereafter, with 4 storms forming in June. By the end of July, a total of 8 storms had formed with the a tropical storm forming off the coast of Central America roughly every 10 days. By the start of September, 18 had developed. By the middle of October, 21 storms had formed within the EPHC's area of responsibility and the list of names was exhausted, forcing the agency to request emergency names.

The cause of the high activity in 1985 is unknown as this year continued a trend of above average season that began in 1981. Quite remarkably, 1985 was a La Nina year, which tends to inhibit Pacific hurricane activity. However, 1985 was also during a warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Several storms were investigated by Hurricane Hunter aircraft in 1985; the first was Hurricane Sandra which was investigated on September 12 on the way from Hawaii, where the hunters were on standby. The final two flights of the season were made on September 21 and 22 were flown in into Hurricane Terry while the storm was located off the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula. In addition to Hurricane Hunter aircraft, the National Weather Service satellite station provided the basin with adequate satellite converge. The earlier loss of a GOES-East satellite and the move of a GOES-west satellite further west had little effect on Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center operations. Enhanced Infrared imagery was especially useful in determining cold-core centers.

Read more about this topic:  1985 Pacific Hurricane Season

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