The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an extremely active hurricane season this summer and fall.
The center has indicated that between the months of June and November it is likely that 13 to 20 storms will hit the East Coast. Seven to 11 of those could become hurricanes, and 3 to 6 could become major hurricanes, classified as Category 3, 4, or 5, with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. There is a 70-percent chance of above-normal hurricane activity.
Compared to years past, these estimates are high.
NOAA attributes the predicted increase to three factors. The first is a severe monsoon season expected for West Africa. Warmer water temperatures will support those storms as they head out on the Atlantic Ocean. Also, the Pacific Ocean is predicted to be cooler this summer, so no El Nino current is expected to form. The El Nino current in the Pacific generally suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic.
The combination of these events will make for a very active hurricane season.
The bulk of the storms are expected to hit in August, September, and October, when the waters of the Atlantic are warmest. The hurricane season has already begun, however. Tropical storm Andrea formed on June 5 and made landfall shortly after.
Homeowners should start preparing now, Bruce Bates, the director of East Hampton Town’s emergency preparedness program, said. “It seems as though there are many people that don’t prepare at all. We want to make sure that people realize that there is a possibility that they could be affected by these storms,” he said.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which caused over $65 billion in damage and killed more than 125 Americans, it has been advised that people take these warnings seriously.
Asked what the town was doing differently to prepare for storms after Sandy, Mr. Bates said, “There haven’t been any significant changes. We are using the same concepts that we used last year, but we’ve enhanced communication with response agencies and the general public.”
“Homeowners should have their own personal plan. They should decide if it is safe to stay at home, and if it’s not, they should have a place to go where they know it will be safe,” he said. “If making a plan in advance includes leaving their home, they should think about what they are going to need to be safe. That is absolutely essential.”
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center will provide more exact forecasts for single storms and their impacts on land as they form.