Hurricane season in the Tropical North Atlantic runs from June 1st to November 30th each year.
The graphic to the right shows all recorded hurricane tracks in the Atlantic from 1851 to 2005. As you can see, I've highlighted Panama (red ring). In 150 years, not a single hurricane has troubled our luckily located Central American paradise.
A tropical cyclone is a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters, and develops because of the differential between air and water temperature.
Here in Bocas del Toro on the northern Caribbean coast of Panama we have a VHF based expats and cruisers radio network. Each morning at 7:45 am there is a regular gathering for the "Bocas Net", a 15 to 30 minute roundup of local topics - upcoming community events, sales and wants, problems and tips, and an open forum section for birthdays, trivia or anything else. An important part of the daily get-together is the weather forecast for the day.
I am privileged to be the weather man for three days a week on the "Bocas Net" (and presenter one day a week), and during hurricane season I have to keep a regular watch on the National Weather Service's "National Hurricane Center" website, which has regular updates on any systems, in our case the area of interest being the Tropical North Atlantic.
Once again, Bocas del Toro, and Panama in general, has never been hit directly by a hurricane. That is why Bocas del Toro is such a magnet for the cruisers, who head down here in June and July to sit out hurricane season in a safe and comfortable paradise.
Of course we do get our fair share of weather, and when it rains here it really does rain in a spectacular fashion. In hurricane months we do have some spectacular thunder and lightning too.
So if you do come down to Bocas del Toro to check out the area, and I sincerely suggest you do, try to make friends with a sailor and see if you can listen in to the expat and cruisers network at 7:45 one morning. It'll give you a great sense of the wonderful community spirit down here.
See you on Channel 68.
For general interest, I am writing this in early June 2013, and hurricane season is just starting. We've already had Tropical Storm Andrea this year, which dashed up the eastern coast of the United States. Tropical storms and hurricanes are named in a sequential alphabetical system through the season.
Names which may make the news this year (but without Panama mentioned in the headlines!), like Sandy did last year, are:-
Any stormy names there that you know?