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Thursday, August 2, 2007

2007 Hurricane Season in full swing


For all their scientific gadgets and fancy prediction systems, the National Weather Service has certainly struck out the last few years with their over-prediction of Hurricane activity. NOAA has issued this prediction for 2007, which calls for an above average number of Atlantic Hurricanes (since the May prediction they toned down the threat, but yet they haven't updated their site to reflect reduced predictive forecast... so we will go with what's posted). Pacific Coast predictions show a reduction from normal activity (down about 70%).

For the Atlantic, NOAA predicts:

  • A 74 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2007 (the long-term average probability is 52 percent).
  • A 50 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula (the long-term average is 31 percent)
  • A 49 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville (the long-term average is 30 percent).

The Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, but August and September tend to be the months where activity is most frequent.

Why do I care so much about Hurricanes?

As a member of the marine community, I need keep a keen watch on predictions and reports to protect my vessel (and my friend's vessels) from damage. Often this means either pulling the boat out of the water, or moving it from the open water to a sheltered location - such as a cove or inlet where it won't get torn to shreds by high winds, other vessels, docks, and flying debre.

The problem is that there isn't always a lot of time to react if you only receive your weather updates from local television and radio. So I monitoring the National Hurricane Center every few days (more so when a storm is brewing) to make sure I'm keeping abreast of storm track direction. NHS offers a three and five day track which is updated hourly and daily as information is available.

With making decisions around what to do with your boat, your better playing it safe than sorry - which unfortunately often results in pulling or moving the boat too quickly and paying out quite a few bucks (after a few false alarms it becomes annoyingly expensive) to prep, prepare, and haul. Sometimes threats too close to the end of a season can typically end the season prematurely because of the cost and time involved when moving her to the hard.

Having weathered a few good storms, I've come to respect and see Mother Nature in a whole new light. When it comes to these storms, its not always what you see that's a threat, its what you don't see - currents, undertow, and small objects that would ordinarily been deemed harmless become missiles or bullets when they are traveling at 90 mph.

When the flags come out, instead of being like the fools you see on TV playing in the surf, head in doors and watch from the comfort of your couch.

Here are a few good sites to peruse to educate you on Hurricanes:

How Hurricanes are formed
Another site explaining how Hurricanes are formed
Hurricane Tracking charts
National Hurricane Prediction Center (best site for regular updates)
Amateur Radio Station at the NWS
Hurricane History
Historical Hurricane Track Data (Interactive)
The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones From 1851 to 2006
Sign Up for Hurricane Email Alerts and Updates from the NWS
Hurricane Storm Names through 2012
Red Cross/NWS Hurricane Brochure with Family Preparedness Guide

2 comments:

New to WH said...

Believe it or not, NOAA updated its Atlantic hurricane outlook again, and is still calling for an above-average season.
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/s2905.htm

The King said...

Thank you. You'll notice I not only added your comment, but created a separate entry on the story. Thanks for your submission!