Well, it’s that time of the year again when we will be monitoring the tropics daily for potential tropical development. The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1st and will conclude November 30th. However, storms can and have formed both before and after the official season just like we saw already this year with Alberto. Tropical Storm Alberto formed off the South Carolina coast on Saturday May 19th and then weakened into a post tropical depression as it moved back into the cooler waters of the Atlantic by May 22nd.
The official forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was released this morning, May 24th at 11:00 EST. Their forecast is for a near normal hurricane season with a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 names storms. Of those, four to eight will become hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. From the four to eight hurricanes they believe that one to three of those storms will become major hurricanes, which are category 3 or greater. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
It is important to note that no matter if the official forecast is for an above, below or average number of hurricanes that preparation is paramount. For example, in 1992 that hurricane season only produced six names storms however one of those storms was Andrew. Andrew made landfall in south Florida as a Category 5 storm that devastated that region. A quote that is always in my head is that it only takes one and with memories from Irene still fresh in resident’s minds everyone should have a hurricane plan and be prepared to use it should a storm take aim on our area once again.