The Winds of Change

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently updated their forecast, projecting a more active than normal hurricane season. Updating their expectations from May, when 11 to 17 named storms were projected, NOAA is now calling for 14 to 19 named storms. The number of hurricanes is still expected to fall between five and nine.

Regarding the update, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Gerry Bell observed that "the wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May."

Already this year, there have been six named storms, which is double the number typically observed by this point. As the peak of hurricane season typically falls between mid-August and mid-October, an increase is still anticipated -- based on data from the National Hurricane Center. "78 percent of tropical storm days, 87 percent of category 1 and 2 hurricane days and 96 percent of the major, Category 3-5, hurricane days occur in that two-month period," states the release.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long notes that "today's updated outlook underscores the need for everyone to know their true vulnerabilities to storms and storm surge. As we enter the height of hurricane season, it's important for everyone to know who issues evacuation orders in their community, heed the warnings, update their insurance and have a preparedness plan."