Experts site the phenomenon known as "El Niño", for the hopefully, lack luster projections.
Word of caution:
Over the years I have grown leery of these outlooks. They may lull you into thinking its going to be OK, and then when you least expected it.... pow! There's one at your doorstep.
The year 1992 was also forecast to be a quiet year.
We ended up with only 7 systems that year, unfortunately the one out of seven turned out to be Hurricane Andrew.
It was a vicious Category 5, the strongest on the hurricane wind scale, that just about leveled Deep Southern Miami Dade County. So the bottom line is, "It only takes one".
Why the low expectations?:
NOAA says, “The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“El Niño may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season.
We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.”
NOAA will update their outlook sometime in August just before we hit the peak of hurricane season in September.
What is El Niño?:
It is a warming of the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. It doesn't just affect marine currents but atmospheric ones as well.
This will lead to rain in areas typically with a dry climate, and the opposite in those with a wet seasonal regime.
The reason why its called "El Niño" is because it was discovered by Peruvian fishermen who noticed the warmer waters happening around Christmas time, so they named it after the Christ child or "El Niño" which means the boy child.
Here's what I recommend:
- Sit with your entire family and make a list of foods you will eat that do not require refrigeration, cooking nor heating. Add up what you need for at least a three day period. The most important item should be water. You will need 2 gallons of water per person per day. Freeze those water jugs before the storm arrives, this way they serve a dual purpose- keeping your food cold and turning to drinking water once they thaw. You'll need 1 gallon per day for your pets. Don't forget about their food as well. Don't forget extra meds and a first aid kit.
- Next, put all your important papers inside zip lock bags and place them in a plastic container with a locking lid. These papers should include insurance policies, car and house deeds, medical information, bank accounts etc. Take pictures of all your belongings and keep that zip drive in the bin as well.
- Go outside and make an assessment of your house. If you have impact windows or accordion shutters,you should be good. If you have panels or wood, get them ready now with all the hardware you need. This way you can avoid the last minute shopping rush. Make a list of all items in your yard that may fly away and become deadly projectiles. These include potted plants, tables and chairs, toys, fountains, bird baths, etc
- You should also trim those big branches that can break off and fall on your roof causing major damage. Don't do this before a storm strikes as all that yard waste will become flying missiles.
Now that we've covered food, water, and home preps figure out how you will be entertained while the storm is hitting us.
Chances are you will have no power, so plenty of batteries, flashlights, and lanterns are essential. ((NO CANDLES)) If these tip over they may cause a fire and help may not come during a storm.
Just remember, a hurricane will never take you by surprise.
If an earthquake happened right now there would be no warning. If I could give you 5 minutes notice before a tornado struck, I would be on my A-game.
Unlike all those disasters, you will see us ad nauseam on TV telling you a storm is approaching, sometimes as much as a week out, so you have plenty of time to prepare.
Get what you need and be ready in case Mother Nature throws us a curve ball.
I am very proud of our weather staff, from left to right:
Weekend meteorologist Karlene Chavis, weather producer and graphics wizard, Natacha Langlois, yours truly in the middle, Morning meteorologist Vivian Gonzalez, and weekend night meteorologist Brent Cameron on the right.
Lets keep our fingers crossed it really will be a below average season.
Here's wishing you a very safe Hurricane Season.