It’s June 1, marking the start of “hurricane season”…the time of year we typically expect most tropical storms/hurricanes to occur. The season ends on November 30.
While the season has begun, mid-August to late October is when we will see most of the storms. However, if we get an early season storm, it is more likely to develop close to the U.S.
The NOAA/National Hurricane Center preseason forecast calls for a hurricane season that is a bit above-average. Keep in mind, we’re already one name into this year (remember April’s Tropical Storm Arlene?).
“Average” is 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.
This represents an uptick in the forecast from early outlooks done 2-3 months ago, which anticipated a slightly below-average season.
At issue is El Nino: an abnormal warming of water in the Equatorial region of the eastern Pacific Ocean. A few months ago it appeared one could be ongoing for hurricane season. El Nino typically creates wind shear over the main development region of Atlantic/Caribbean tropical systems, which can greatly reduce the number of storms.
Now it appears El Nino will be weak or just not happening at all. Combine that with above-normal ocean temperatures providing plenty of fuel, and a more active season may be in the cards.
Keep in mind, there are other factors that will come into play concerning global circulations, how much Saharan dust drifts over the Atlantic (that can deter hurricane formation), and so forth. So, the chance of an even busier, or quieter, season is still there.
As always…the total numbers don’t matter all that much for many. Twenty named storms that don’t make landfall make for a busy season, but a “good” one. Eight named storms would be a quiet season, but if one of them is a major hurricane hitting a population center, it’s a catastrophic season.
No matter what the forecast, people need to be prepared in case a storm heads our way…both along the coast and inland. Last year, Hurricane Matthew caused a tremendous amount of inland flooding in parts of the Carolinas.
You can find a comprehensive list of what to do, both before and after a storm, by clicking here.
Many tips will apply mainly to those who live/have property along the coast. Inland, flooding is the number one threat…and the number one cause of fatalities. However, inland areas may also see gusty, straight-line winds and a threat for isolated tornadoes, so we need to be ready, too.
It’s always best to over-prepare and not need it, then under-prepare and be caught if a storm strikes!