How hard will the Atlantic hurricane season (June 1-November 30) hit us this year?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says, not too badly!
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has forecasted a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season. (An average hurricane season produces 12 `named’ storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.)
More details from NOAA are as follows:
- A likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher).
- 4 to 8 of these could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
People are often curious about the names selected for hurricanes before they show up every year. The World Meteorological Association keeps a rotating list of names for hurricanes that are revived every 6 years. The ones that cause large-scale damage (like Katrina) get retired out of the list.
The list of Atlantic hurricane names for 2019 is as follows:
- Andrea (already formed)
- Barry (already formed)
Gerry Bell, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center lead hurricane forecaster, has emphasized that communities likely to be affected by the hurricane season should take the forecasts seriously because, even an average number of storms can cause significant damage (like in 2018).
Last year’s hurricane season had proved to be more destructive than expected, producing 8 hurricanes from 15 named storms. Four named storms (Florence, Helene, Isaac and Joyce) were active at the same time.
Florence — a long-lived, category 4 hurricane that lingered from August 31 to September 17 — killed 22 people across three Southeastern states, created 44 tornadoes and was declared the ninth most destructive storm in terms of property damage in US history ($ 22 billion).
Michael – a category 5 hurricane with an intensity of 160 mph when it made landfall at the Florida Panhandle last October – caused 16 deaths and $ 25 billion in damage in the US.
“We’re expecting a near-normal season [this year] but regardless, there’s a lot of activity, and we need to get ready now,” said Gerry Bell. NOAA believes its hurricane season forecasts to be about 70% accurate, he added.
Which means we cannot sit back and relax, taking `a near normal hurricane season’ at face value. It is imperative that communities take preventive and reinforcement actions before an unexpected event becomes a grim reality.
During hurricane season, your emergency plan should include a list of items that you can pre-stock at home, such as non-perishable food items, first aid kit, water (1 gallon per person per day), flashlights (one per person with extra batteries), tool kit and sanitation products.
Find out more about hurricane preparedness. Read the plan-of-action published by NOAA by clicking HERE.