The South Pacific is seeing one tropical cyclone after the other this season. After Oli, there is now Pat. This system, a strong category I hurricane, will pass through the South Cook Islands, along the 159th degree longitude west. Northwest of American Samoa, another tropical disturbance is brewing up and I wouldn't be surprised to see yet another cyclone on the maps by this time tomorrow.
The South Pacific is home to a scattering of small islands, but in the three or four years that I've been monitoring hurricanes, there have never been this many systems passing through. The reason is the current El Nino situation, which brings elevated seawater temperatures in the western and central Pacific Ocean. El Nino is now abating - which is not good news for the Atlantic hurricane season. The strange coincidence is that El Nino tends to suppress the formation of hurricanes in the Atlantic, so 2010 might see a more lively season than 2009.