Despite claims from water damage experts that we are overdue for a very active hurricane season, it looks like we will have to wait for Mother Nature to really strut her stuff when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms. The Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a “near normal” hurricane season with nine to fifteen tropical storms predicted, with four to eight of those developing into hurricanes.
As many as three to four of those may develop into major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or higher, with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph and fully capable of causing extreme hurricane damage.
Hurricane season 2012 begins on June 1 and runs through November 30, although this year’s season got off to an early start with last week’s development of Tropical Storm Alberto off the South Carolina coast. Alberto fizzled out after several days and never posed any threat to the US mainland. Pre-season storms are not uncommon, but forecasters say they do not offer any indication as to how active the season will be.
Over the last twenty years, the average Atlantic hurricane season has brought an annual average of 12 named storms with six hurricanes and thee major hurricanes. Hurricanes feed off of warm water, but Atlantic sea surfaces are cooler this year. That coupled with strong wind shear conditions in the area where most storms form, serves to create an environment that is not particularly conducive to storm formation.
El Nino, a warming of the tropical Pacific that brings about various wind patterns, may also be responsible for killing off hurricanes in the Atlantic. El Nino typically develops in late summer through early fall, the same time that Atlantic hurricanes are most likely to occur.
Government officials say that work is underway to extend current hurricane tracking forecasts from five to seven days, but those programs will not be released until the data provided is as accurate as the five day forecasts.
Florida area property owners should make sure that the structure of their home or business is properly fortified and protected against the high winds and torrential rains that always come along with hurricane damage.