The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration updates its outlook for Atlantic hurricane season every year. In recent years, hurricane season has brought more powerful storms, and experts predict the strength and frequency of hurricanes in future seasons to worsen even more. The peak of the season is from the middle of August through the month of October. However, the entire season spans from the beginning of June through the end of November.
When experts predict the season to be above normal for activity levels, this means oceanic and atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of storms. Experts also noted that during some of the most active years in history, storms were noted early on in the season in the deeper area of the tropical Atlantic. This is considered an indicator of an active hurricane season.
The experts use past weather conditions to predict current ones. When the sea temperatures are above normal and there is a rainy season in West Africa, the wind patterns from African storms contribute to creating tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. When it is likely that La Niña will develop, it is more likely to be a severe hurricane season. La Niña is known for bringing a reduced wind shear with it, which only fuels hurricanes.
In early 2013, experts at NOAA predicted a 70 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season. From June through August, they predicted between 13 and 19 named storms and between six and nine hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, they predicted that between three and five could become major hurricanes. Those predictions show ranges that are above the 30-year annual average of 12 named storms, three major hurricanes and six total hurricanes.
Experts stress the importance of all people being prepared for hurricane season before it arrives. Since some seasons are harsher than others, they also recommend that people read predictions every year to know what to expect. One of the most important steps for every person and especially families to take is to review an individual emergency plan. People who do not have these in place should develop one. Experts also recommend checking emergency supplies and restocking them before hurricane season starts. Bottled water, canned foods, flashlights, extra medications and first aid supplies are important to keep.
Another essential step is to review insurance coverage. It is important to understand what a policy covers and excludes, and people who have purchased specific valuables since last year should make sure those items are properly insured. Some items need special riders or policies, so do not wait until next hurricane season to review a policy. To learn more about obtaining adequate coverage, discuss concerns with an agent.