NOAA's Hurricane Activity Outlook 2017: Likely above average
Another year of getting ready for hurricanes -- just in case.
History's the teacher.
The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 killed more than 600 people.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual outlook for 2017, which starts June 1, predicts a more active hurricane season. The active part of the season is typically the end of August through early October.
Benjamin Friedman, who is the acting administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the organization expects “11 to 17 tropical storms, that’s with winds greater than 39 mph, 5 to 9 of them will become hurricanes, that’s with winds of greater than 74 mph. And 2 to 4 of them will become major hurricanes, those with winds greater than 111 mph.”
One thing to note about these tropical storm and hurricane activity forecasts: they don't say where those storms will go. We'll know that in each particular instance once the storm is already brewing.
Storm Team 10 Chief Meteorologist Mark Searles said we should “focus more on where they form, and where their tracks are going to be, because we could have a very busy season, but most of them could stay offshore.”
"Sandy,” which hit southern New England in 2012 and was the second most costliest storm in U.S. history at $75 billion, was barely a hurricane when it made landfall in New Jersey.
“Just because it's not a major hurricane doesn't mean it's not dangerous, doesn't mean it's not deadly, doesn't mean we don't need to be prepared for it,” said Friedman.
While the tools are better this year: better satellites, refined guidance models, we're reminded they're not flawless. Hurricane Matthew last year blew up from a Category 1 to a 5 overnight, then sliced across Haiti, killing more than 500 people before heading to South Carolina through Virginia, causing $10 billion more in damage in the U.S., killing an additional 47.
Lack of upper level winds, and above normal sea surface temperatures are why NOAA's expecting a busier than average season.
“Now is the time to make sure you're ready for another potentially active hurricane season,” Dr. Gerry Bell, a climate specialist at NOAA, said.
Searles added, “a meteorologists worse nightmare up here in southern New England is a major landfalling hurricane along our coastline.”