Atlantic hurricane season outlook

Charlene Craig
June 4, 2018

Statewide, the storm took 84 lives.

The half-yearlong Atlantic hurricane season in 2018 started Friday with forecasters expecting wild storms to happen as frequently as previous year.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), natural disasters caused more than $300 billion in damages during 2017, a year that encompassed several damaging hurricanes, as well as wildfires and mudslides in California.

According to NOAA, forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a fairly normal season and a 25 percent chance of a below-average season.

- If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.

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A year ago there were 17 named storms, including Harvey, Irma and Maria - which devastated the USA mainland and Puerto Rico.

The revised prediction lowers named storms from 14 to 13; hurricanes from 7 to 6; and major hurricanes from 3 to 2.

It's important to take these seasonal forecasts with a grain of salt as there is no skill or ability to know how many, if any, of those storms will make landfall along the Gulf Coast that would affect Southwest Louisiana.

Hurricane season is here. We start the season with the "A" storm already gone.

HURRICANE WARNING means a hurricane may occur within 36 hours.

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Hurricane season ends November 30, with the peak usually occurring in September.

The researchers wrote there is a 67 percent chance the number of named storms will fall between 10 and 18, and the number of hurricanes between four and eight. First, having a storm develop during May is not a precursor to an active season. The ocean water temperatures continue to run warmer than normal across most of the Atlantic Basin, especially along the Eastern Seaboard. In 2010, there were 19 named storms and only one (Tropical Storm Bonnie early in the season) hit the United States.

In their preparedness, comes the development of new technology to better help these meteorologists navigate their maps and radar. Waters near and west of the Azores are running 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 2 degrees Celsius) cooler than this time past year, a feature likely to suppress storm activity. The cooler water, in turn, keeps the winds high. "So as usual we advise all Belizeans to get your hurricane plan, get it activated, be prepared that if such a system arises, which we hope it would not, that we are being prepared for and to face and brace for the 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season". "This can be exacerbated by storm surge since the surge is often accompanied by destructive waves", warned Brown. A year ago it produced several storms that slammed the southeastern United States.

This back-and-forth is vital to officials as they make key decisions based on the information they receive. GWS uses weather cycle data to predict hurricanes four years into the future.

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