The 2015 hurricane season officially starts June 1 and runs through November 30. While there have been vital enhancements in forecasting the landfalls and paths of developing storms, experts have cautioned that efforts are still lagging behind in accurately predicting the intensity of hurricanes. More efforts are needed especially during rapid intensification, which is a process when a storm strengthens in just a few hours by more than one category.
There have been over 300 direct hits on the U.S. mainland by hurricanes since 1851. Ranging from categories two to five, some of the deadliest ones include the hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed an estimated 1,833 people. Other than that, hurricane Audrey in 1957 which took approximately 416 lives, and Galveston, Texas in the year 1900 which claimed over 8,000 victims, are considered as the ones that caused huge damage to civilian lives and property. These devastating natural disasters can cause up to tens of billions of dollars worth of damages, affecting not only the U.S. and the Gulf Coast, but countries throughout the Atlantic region.
On May 27, administrator Kathryn Sullivan, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announced that the 2015 hurricane season is expected to be below average. However, local and national officials are not taking a chance, and are working on their preparedness. They are urging residents not to be unconcerned by the decreased risk of flooding. Though, levees have been greatly improved in most regions, the dangers still exist even during moderate storms as the 2015 hurricane season officially starts June 1 and runs through November 30.
Scientists at the Hurricane Research Division (HRD) have partnered with scientists in India, Japan, and Taiwan to develop a global model of NOAA’s forecasting computer, called the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast System (HWRF). They are working on compiling a global database by operating HWRF on storms in the Indian and Pacific oceans, whereby, they are hopeful to fix the problem with intensity forecasting.
While experts are anticipating the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season to be below average, for the Central Pacific and Eastern Pacific basins, it will be a different scenario. NOAA’s outlook for the Central Pacific hurricane basin is that there is a chance of the hurricane season being 70 percent above normal, with an estimate of five to eight tropical cyclones in the region. NOAA’s expectation for the Eastern Pacific hurricane basin is also at 70 percent probability for an above normal hurricane season. Out of which, an estimated 15 to 22 will be named storms, with seven to 12 expected to develop into hurricanes. The forecast suggests that among five to eight of those could be sizeable hurricanes.
As the 2015 hurricane season closes in, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages coastal residents to be well-prepared. They are asking individuals, and families to learn the evacuation routes in their areas, gather emergency supplies, and establish a communications plan. Deputy Administrator Joseph Nimmich from FEMA, urges everyone to prepare now for powerful storms, and hurricanes. Emphasizing on the fact that all it takes is one tropical storm or hurricane to devastate a community, and considerably disrupt the lives of many. People have been advised to be alert as the 2015 hurricane season officially starts June 1 and runs through November 30.
By Ankur Sinha
CNN-Hurricane Statistics Fast Facts
NPR.Org-NOAA Warns Of Powerful Storms, Despite Seeing ‘Below-Normal’ Hurricane Season
KLFY News-NOAA’s 2015 hurricane season forecast: What to expect
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