Hurricane season is almost upon us and the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recently come out with its 2013 season outlook. According to the organization, the 2013 hurricane season is expected to be active or extremely active.
The season is officially underway on June 1st and lasts six months. NOAA claims that there is a 70 percent chance of 13 to 20 named storms, 11 of which could become hurricanes. Just for a comparison, the 2012 hurricane season produced 19 named storms and 10 of those became hurricanes. Of those 10 hurricanes, two were major hurricanes – Michael, which never reached land, and Sandy, which killed more than 100 people and caused billions of dollars in damage, reports Fierce Homeland Security News.
"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," said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator, according to the press release from NOAA. "As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it's important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall."
Fierce Homeland Security News reports that three factors are expected to be the primary cause for the increase in storms, including: warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, lack of El Nino and an erratic atmospheric pattern that has continued from the 2012 hurricane season.
"This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa."
All of this news has led the organization to release warnings to public safety organizations that training for hurricane season is necessary and preparation plans should be in place.
"The start of hurricane season is a reminder that our families, businesses and communities need to be ready for the next big storm," said Joe Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for Response and Recovery, according to the press release. "Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked. Learn more about how you can prepare for hurricane season at www.ready.gov/hurricanes."
The NOAA has announced that it has improved technology it will debut this season, including better forecasting models and data gathering and a new supercomputer set to release in July. This advanced will help the agency predict the travel patterns of storm structures and improve forecast guides – allowing for NOAA to give better warnings to state and local leaders of impacted regions.
Courses are being released and supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to promote training for hurricane season. The Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET) is intended to educate those in the decision making process for communities that may or are impacted by a hurricane.
The intention of this training course, like others, is to teach decision makers how hurricanes form, the hazards they bring, what tools and guiding principles can be used to prepare communities and how to formulate a plan. With large storm formations, preparation is key in preventing unnecessary life loss and for getting a community back on its feet after a hurricane has passed through.