Oh Great, Prepare for Some Exciting Hurricanes This Season

The NOAA predicts stronger, more frequent storms this year.

sandy

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pleased approximately zero east coast residents by announcing that the U.S. may end up seeing as many as six major hurricanes in 2013, above the seasonal average of three.

“We’re preparing for the worst but hope for the best. I am hoping for a sunny if not drought ridden summer, but I am going to make sure I have as many trained volunteers to help and the staff here just in case something happens,” said Kat Powers, director of communications for Red Cross of Eastern Mass.

The NOAA made its predictions in its 2013 Atlantic hurricane outlook report on Thursday, saying the conditions in the Atlantic Ocean and atmosphere suggest we’ll see stronger and more frequent hurricanes. Specifically, the NOAA predicts between 13 to 20 named storms, (meaning wind speeds reach at least 39 miles per hour), and of them, it predicts seven to 11 might become hurricanes, with wind speeds exceeding 73 miles per hour. Three to six of the storms might see winds of up to 111 miles per hour, making them major hurricanes.

NOAA cited three factors to explain why they’re predicting a busy hurricane season:

A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995; warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and El Niño is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator, said in a statement, “With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time.”

In case you woke up from a long nap recently, it was just last October that Hurricane Sandy made her dastardly way up the eastern seaboard last  October, leaving hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents without power and causing significant damage (though nothing on the scale of the beating New York took.) Of course, the NOAA’s predictions for hurricane season don’t have much bearing on where any of these potential storms might travel and how much damage they might cause. So at least we can cross our fingers we’ll be too far north to see much damage.

Steve Annear contributed reporting.

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