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Entries in Hurricanes (6)

Friday
Nov302012

Good Riddance, 2012 Hurricane Season

NASA GOES Project(NEW YORK) -- The 2012 hurricane season, a time period that produced 19 named storms, including 10 hurricanes and one post-tropical cyclone called Sandy, officially comes to an end on Friday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says 2012 was an above-average year for storms.  The average annual number of named storms is 12, with six being the average yearly number of hurricanes.  The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

The past season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm: Sandy this year, and Hurricane Irene in 2011.

This year also included tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida and Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana.

Sandy was not officially a hurricane when it made landfall in New Jersey last month -- it is officially categorized as post-tropical Cyclone Sandy -- but it certainly delivered hurricane-level death and devastation.

New Jersey is asking the federal government for some $30 billion in aid to help rebuild, while New York state has petitioned Uncle Sam for $39 billion in rebuilding assistance.

Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, says this year proves that it’s “wrong to think that only major hurricanes can ruin lives and impact local economics."

NOAA notes that for the seventh consecutive year, no major hurricanes -- those storms labeled Category 3, 4 and 5 -- hit the U.S.

The only major hurricane this season was Hurricane Michael, which was a Category 3 storm that stayed out in the Atlantic.

The federal agency says it will release its pre-season outlook for the 2013 hurricane season in May.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug092012

Hurricane Season Forecast Above Normal

Satellite image of Hurricane Ernesto taken on Aug. 7, 2012 in the Gulf of Mexico.. NOAA(WASHINGTON) -- NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, updating its forecast, said today that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be above average.

The center said it was now predicting there would be 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 8 of them hurricanes.  It raised the numbers partly because of the number of storms we have already seen this year.

“This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms to date,” said NOAA in a statement.  “The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent.”

Already, the Atlantic has seen tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie and Florence, and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto.

Based on that, the Climate Prediction Center said it now anticipates 12 to 17 storms with top winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those, it is predicted we will see 5-8 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), 2-3 of which could be major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are Category 3, 4, or 5 and have winds of at least 111 mph.

According to NOAA, the average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The Climate Prediction Center is increasing the number of expected storms due to wind patterns and warmer-than-average ocean temperatures, according to Gerry Bell, the center’s lead forecaster.

“These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more active season,” Bell said.

At the same time, forecasters predict that an El Niño — a giant patch of unusually warm water in the equatorial Pacific that affects global weather patterns — will develop in August or September.

“El Niño is a competing factor, because it strengthens the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, which suppresses storm development,” Bell said. “However, we don’t expect El Niño’s influence until later in the season.”

NOAA’s National Weather Service said regardless of predictions, it is important to take the proper steps to be ready for severe weather.

For more information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit www.ready.gov.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep022011

Best States for Avoiding Expensive Weather Disasters

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene is expected to reach $7.2 billion across eight states and Washington, D.C., with $1 billion estimates for New York State alone, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

If this grim news has left you wondering which states are least likely to have expensive weather-related disasters, recent data suggests your best chance of avoiding them requires leaving the mainland for either Alaska or Hawaii.

According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), between 1980 and 2010, Hawaii and Alaska had the fewest costly weather-related catastrophes.

The NCDC only tallied disasters producing damage estimates totaling more than $1 billion, including insured and uninsured losses.

Adam Smith, a physical scientist who played a key role in integrating the different data sets used in the NCDC report, put out a new map on the website Thursday afternoon, reflecting 2011 data.

“The new map that incorporates the 10 events from this year still shows the South and Southeast have the highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters,” Smith said.

He cautioned one ‘event’ can affect several different states, so a weather disaster tallied in one state might be the same as the weather disaster tallied in another state.

In Alaska, wildfires spurred by drought during 2006, 2007 and 2008 took their toll, and in Hawaii, during September 1992, a category 4 hurricane hit the Hawaiian island of Kauai resulting in seven deaths.

Of course, in both states you may still have to contend with earthquakes.  Alaska has had more earthquakes than any other state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and Hawaii ranks third.

On the continental United States, Michigan, Maine and Vermont have had the fewest expensive weather-related disasters.  But as Hurricane Irene demonstrated, recent severe flooding in Vermont suggests nothing can be taken for granted, especially as new, extreme weather patterns continue to develop.

Regardless, Smith said, the coasts -- particularly in the South -- will continue to experience some of the biggest weather-related losses.

The states with the most weather-related disasters topping more than $1 billion are Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, which each had at least 31 expensive events in the past 30 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug042011

Above-Normal Hurricane Season Predicted: Report

Comstock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The National Weather Service is predicting between seven and 10 hurricanes -- three to five of which at category three or higher -- for the 2011 season.

Lead Hurricane Forecaster Dr. Jerry Bell says this will be the 12th above-normal season in 17 years. “We are now entering the peak months of what is expected to be an active season, and now is the time that people really need to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place because we’re expecting the activity to start picking up even more than it already has,” said Dr. Bell in a conference call Thursday.

The numbers are up slightly from the May 2011 outlook that predicted 12 to 18 storms, with three to six having the potential to become major hurricanes during the season which spans from June to November. It should be noted that the storms can be unpredictable, and hurricanes don't always make landfall.

Tropical storm Emily is expected to remain a tropical storm as it moves between Hispaniola and Cuba, across the western Bahamas and towards eastern Florida, but Bell warned the storm could develop into a hurricane by Monday morning.

“After it approaches near Florida, the hurricane is indicating that by Monday morning it could become a hurricane and then it would re-curve out to sea,” Bell said.  “Right now their track has it barely skirting the eastern north Carolina coast, so the potential for that and then back out to sea.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May312011

National Hurricane Center Predicts Above-Average 2011 Season

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Atlantic hurricane season begins Wednesday and the National Hurricane Center predicts that it will be an above-average summer with 12 to 18 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes, which are Category 3 and above.

Last year, despite a historically active hurricane season with 19 named storms, no hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. In fact, the last hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Ike in 2008.

National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen cautioned that the long-range predictions are missing an important piece of information.

"It's not telling you where they are going to make landfall -- that long-range science does not exist," Feltgen said. "It doesn't matter if there are 50 storms or one, if that one storm hits you it's a really bad year, and that's the one storm you need to be preparing for right now."

Feltgen said it is vital that anyone who could be affected by a hurricane have a personal plan in place.

"If you don't have one and you find yourself under a hurricane warning, odds are you are going to be making the wrong decisions at the wrong time," he said.

On average the month of June has one storm every two years. This year the first named storm will be called Arlene, the most used storm name of all time.

There are six lists that continually rotate and names are only removed from them after it is determined that a hurricane was so devastating that it would be insensitive to reuse the name.

The 2011 list is the same as the incredibly active and destructive 2005 hurricane season with a few notable exceptions -- five hurricanes names were retired from the 2005 list because of their fury. Dennis has been replaced by Don, Katrina by Katia, Rita by Rina, Stan by Sean and Wilma by Whitney.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov292010

Hurricane Season Ends as One of the Busiest, Yet Mildest on Record

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The 2010 hurricane season officially ends Tuesday, and although 19 storms in all were named, the season was one of the mildest on record.

"It was one of the busier ones that we've observed since our records began back in the 1800s, mid-1800s," says National Hurricane Center meteorologist Todd Kimberlain.  "We had 19 named storms, 12 of those became hurricanes, five of those were major hurricanes."

Of those named storms, only one made landfall in the U.S.: Tropical Storm Bonnie.  Bonnie moved over south Florida in late July, but only for a brief period of time.

Kimberlain says, "For the sheer amount of tropical cyclone activity that we had, to not observe one U.S. landfall is kind of unusual.  We would have expected something."

A few factors may have led to the storms' relatively gentle natures.  According to Kimberlain, "We had a very persistent trough of low pressure offshore the U.S. east coast and that directed a lot of storms north and then northeast out to sea.  There were other storms that formed down in the western Caribbean and they primarily affected Central America and Mexico because of a very strong ridge of high pressure over that area."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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