The predictions are in, and they look promising. Five of the six major weather forecasters who issue annual predictions for hurricane season are expecting a quieter than normal season. With four of those organizations – The Weather Channel, North Carolina State University, Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – having correctly forecast last year’s storm season, people are taking that as a vote of confidence and planning tropical travel in record numbers. —
One of the important factors forecasters have used to make their predictions about Atlantic storms happens in the Pacific Ocean: El Nino. “What El Niño does is it suppresses the hurricane season, mainly during the peak months of the season, which are August, September and October," said Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead hurricane season forecaster, who spoke with reporters earlier this year for an article first reported on CNN.
Hurricane season is seen by many travel experts as the last reason holding more people back from taking a summertime tropical vacation. Already people have been lured to such locations as Key West Florida and other Caribbean islands by the reduced rates many of the hotels offer. Now that they have the confirmation of the weather report, they are starting to plan their trips.
“We’ve seen a small uptick in the number of dinner reservations over what we normally have for the summer,” said Norman Vogel, owner of the popular Key West restaurant the Roof Top Café. “However, talking with hotel owners and managers from around the island, it looks like this summer is going to be one of the best ever.”
The majority of Vogel’s summer business actually comes through weddings planned in advance, helping to give his company a bit of a cushion. Other Key West restaurants are starting to rethink their typical summer plans of layoffs, reduced hours and closing for extended periods of time. “If the people are going to be coming, it’s going to change some owners’ minds,” said Vogel.
Another factor, beyond the hurricane predictions, that is unique to Key West among all other Caribbean islands, is the recent opening of two new resorts augmented by the extensive remodeling of four others, adding an additional ten percent more rooms to the island over years past. With a number of planned activities throughout the summer, including the annual Hemingway Days and Lobsterfest, many of these new resorts are already reporting several periods that have been sold out.
While Vogel and his fellow Key Westers are bullish about this summer’s outlook, NOAA’s Bell was quick to throw a note of caution on the predictions. His outlook does not predict how many storms will hit land, and warned that the forecast shouldn't lull people in coastal areas. 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which was one of only seven named Atlantic storms that year, devastated South Florida, killing at least 26 people and causing $26.5 billion in damage.
Roof Top Cafe is located at 308 Front Street, just above the Agave 308 Tequila Bar on the utmost Southern point of the United States, Key West, Florida. For group events contact the Event Coordinator at email@example.com. To contact the restaurant directly, call: 305-294-2042.
**Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who has lived in Key West for several years.
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