Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thoughts on the Upcoming Hurricane Season

The internet and media are moving into "frenzy mode" with folks predicting what this year's hurricane season will bring.  So why shouldn't I take a stab at it?  My dog, Zoey, chased her tail 6 times last night instead of the 5 that she does in a normal evening, so that means we'll have 6 major hurricanes this season.  No, just kidding, I have yet to find a correlation between her tail chasing activity and the severity of the Atlantic hurricane season, but I'm still looking into this possibility.

Seriously, last year was an "El Nino" year, which is historically unfavorable for a very active Atlantic hurricane season.  Sure enough, it was a very, very slow season; in fact, it was the least active season since 1997.  Before I go any further, it goes without saying that the season was indeed very significant for anyone affected by one of the 3 hurricanes that did form.  As with all weather-related matters, everything is relative.  With that said, overall, it was a quiet season.

Now, back to this year.  The "official" hurricane season kicks-off on June 1.  El Nino has ended, and waters in the tropical Atlantic are at near-record to record levels of warmth for late May.  In fact, they are currently warmer than in the last extremely active year of 2005 (the year of Katrina).

Both Dr. William Gray and WSI, noted hurricane prediction "experts", are forecasting an "above average to highly above average" season.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I must point out that WSI is affiliated with the B-Movie Channel with Occasional Weather - interpret that however you'd like).   NOAA/NWS will issue their "official" outlook tomorrow, May 27th at 10am Eastern Time from Washington, DC.

So, what is my take on this?  I do believe this will be a more active year, certainly more active than last year (admittedly, it wouldn't take much to do that).  And as I always say, any hurricane that hits your hometown or the hometown of a loved one or friend is a really big deal, regardless of how the rest of the season goes.

If you live in a hurricane or tropical storm prone area, stay alert this season.  You're much more likely to need your emergency kit than you were last year...

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