An Average Year?

Maybe, but this kind of average we could certainly use.

hcane The University of Colorado, which until recently was the home of Dr. William Gray, is only forecasting 6 hurricanes this season.

6.  That would be considered an “average” season.  From

Of 12 predicted tropical cyclones for 2009, six were forecast to become hurricanes, including two expected to develop into intense or major hurricanes Category Three or higher.

Earlier predictions from the group had called for 14 tropical cyclones — or what forecasters call “named storms” — this hurricane season, lasting between June 1 and December 30.

“We are calling for an average hurricane season this year — about as active as the average of the 1950-2000 seasons,” the team’s lead forecaster, Phil Klotzbach, said in a statement.

The December 30th is a mistake.  The season “ends” on November 30th, but December cyclones are not unheard of.

The National Weather Service meteorologists I’ve spoken to don’t really care for the University of Colorado forecasters.  The forecasts made by the NWS and the Colorado group usually differ, and the NWS and National Hurricane Center, since they are charged with the “official” forecast, they are concerned that a Colorado outlook that predicts fewer or less strong hurricanes might prompt people to not prepare as rigorously as they should.  Of course, as Steve Letro has said over and over … it only takes one direct hit to make it a very active and bad hurricane season.

We try to keep a pretty full hurricane kit.  Canned food, batteries, gallon jugs of water.  The shutters are tucked away in the attic, ready to be deployed, and the flexible shutters only take about an hour to put on all the way around the house.  A great investment that I hope we never have to use.

Unless my employment situation changes pretty drastically, this will be the first season I’ve lived in Florida that I don’t have to be concerned about working through a hurricane.  I’ve been out here during some pretty strong tropical storms.  The rain and wind are very intense, and I love the feeling of the power of the weather.  Of course, I don’t want to be here during a full-blown category 2 or 3.  I don’t even want there to be one.

We’ve been told for the past several years that we’re in a multi-decadal cycle of more and more intense hurricanes.  The forecast of an “average” season might call that into question.  Of course, there’s no way to know how many storms will form in the Atlantic basin until next November, and trying to predict hurricanes has been problematic at best.  So, these long-range forecasts are as much for reporters to talk about as anything.  There have been times when they have been wildly inaccurate in both directions.  And, the one that counts is the one that bears down on your house.  The bottom line is, for those of us who live where hurricanes are a possibility, each season should be approached as if it will be the one where “the big one” comes to call.  Get your kit together, get your plan together, pay up the homeowners and flood insurance, cross your fingers, and enjoy the summer.



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Filed under Beach Living, Forecasting, Hurricanes, Thoughts, Weather

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