Today is the start of hurricane season for 2013, and we should expect a bumpy ride for the next few months.
NOAA predicts an above normal, and possibly a hyper-active hurricane season:
- 13-20 named storms
- 7-11 hurricanes
- 3-6 major hurricanes
This is about 50 percent more activity than occurs during a normal season. The main reason is higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the region of the Atlantic where hurricanes typically form, and no external factors that might dampen tropical activity.
Since 1950 there have been an average of 12 tropical storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes during the Atlantic season.
So forecasters clearly expect a busier season.
However seasonal forecasting is far from a hard science. It’s difficult to predict meteorological conditions across the Atlantic, and their effect on a storm season, four months before the busiest time of a hurricane season begins.
Still, a recent analysis by a reader here found that the seasonal forecasts issued by NOAA — which will come out next month — is correct about twice as often as chance would predict. That’s not a perfect record, but it wouldn’t stop me from making reasonable preparations for hurricane season now.
Know whether you need to evacuate. Know what you will bring. Have a plan for where to go. Be prepared to protect your house. The simple steps you take now can make a big difference if a storm does indeed threaten Texas this year.
You can enter the annual Hurricane Prediction Contest here. And, of course, if you live in Katy, run for your lives.