The peak of summer is now gone, but one season is expected to be more active than before.
The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November, is in its peak months of activity: August through October.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Aug. 8 that forecasters are predicting an above-normal season now that El Niño has ended. Forecasters, who monitor oceanic and atmospheric conditions, believe they are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity.
Initially, the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project had anticipated below normal activity in the Gulf of Mexico, but has since forecasted six hurricanes and 12 named storms for the remainder of 2019.
NOAA had issued a 30% above-normal hurricane season likelihood in their May outlook, but increased it to 45% in August. NOAA is now predicting 10 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine of them will become hurricanes. Two to four of the hurricanes are predicted to be major.
The end of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean prompted normal conditions to return to the Atlantic.
According to NOAA, El Niño suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity. An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, three of them major. Per NOAA, an oceanic storm must have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 mph to be considered a hurricane. The storm must have wind speeds of at least 111 mph to be considered a major hurricane.
With any natural disaster, it is always important to be prepared.
Powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges and flooding both coastal and inland are all threats produced by hurricanes.
Flooding is one of the top weather-related killers in the United States. The Texas Department of Public Safety notes that in the state, flash flooding is the number one weather-related killer. DPS said that it only takes two feet of water to float a 3,000-pound vehicle. Never attempt to drive through flooded roads and remember the phrase, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
The Department of Homeland Security advises that if you live in an area under a hurricane warning, find safe shelter right away and evacuate if told to do so.
Storm surge is the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States, according to DHS. Storm surge is ocean water pushed toward the shore by wind force. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard and can easily demolish buildings and cause destruction in coastal areas. DHS said that storm surges can cause over 20 feet of water to be pushed toward the shore and inland.
Here are other hurricane tips offered by DHS:
- Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system.
- If you’re at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs of heavy rain.
- Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds.
- Make plans for where you would go if you had to evacuate or shelter in place.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days.
- Keep important documents in a safe place.
- Protect your property.
For a breakdown of what to do before, during and after a hurricane, go here.