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May 22-28, 2011 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week – This Year is Expected to be an “Above Normal” Hurricane Season…Ready?

May 21, 2011

Not living on one of the “coasts” and thinking that this doesn’t apply to you???  Think again! Hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline; strong winds and flooding rainfall often pose a threat across inland areas along with the risk for tornadoes!  Yikes!

The Atlantic basin is expected to see an above-normal hurricane season this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service. Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

  • 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
  • 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
  • 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Each of these ranges has a 70% likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Climate factors considered for this outlook are:

  • The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.
  • Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
  • La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook does not predict where and when any of these storms may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches. For each storm, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center forecasts how these weather patterns affect the storm track, intensity and landfall potential.

Next week, May 22-28, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Go to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/prepared_week.shtml for a great set of materials to help you get ready….and there is a theme for every day of National Hurricane Preparedness Week

To help prepare residents of hurricane-prone areas, NOAA is unveiling a new set of video and audio public service announcements featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator that are available in both English and Spanish. These are available at http://www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.

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