A below-average hurricane season is being predicted but that does not mean area residents should be any less prepared for the possibility.
Officials from Colorado State University issued an extended range forecast this week for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1.
The forecast predicts a quiet season, with a below-average probability of major hurricanes making landfall along the United States. It estimates nine named storms forming, three of which may become a hurricane.
Onslow County Emergency Services Director Norman Bryson said the numbers aren’t as important as the preparedness.
He said that the forecast doesn’t include where those storms may form or what direction they make take. Forecasters and emergency management officials stress that is only takes one storm to cause significant damage where it makes landfall.
“It’s important to remember these predictions don’t indicate where a storm may hit; it only takes one of them to cause significant damage,” Bryson said. “We urge people not to focus on the numbers but to make sure they are prepared.”
While another hurricane season is approaching, Bryson said being prepared with supplies and plans for the family and home are important year around. Having basic supplies such as food, water, first aid kits, NOAA weather radio, flashlight and plans for evacuation or getting out of the house may be needed whether it’s a tropical storm, winter storm, tornado, fire or other emergency.
“All-hazards preparedness is important year-around,” Bryson said.
With the hurricane season still more than a month away, it’s a good time to make preparations if you haven’t already or to re-stock after the winter season.
Colorado State University forecasters note that it is impossible to precisely predict the season’s hurricane activity in early April. They said there is general interest in knowing whether a season will be active or not, and it brings awareness to the hurricane season.
However, circumstances can change, as was the case last season. The 2013 prediction was for an active season while only two weak category 1 hurricanes formed.
Based on the latest model, 2014 should be another quiet season.
“We anticipate a below-average Atlantic basin hurricane season due to the combination of a relatively high likelihood of at least a moderate El Nino and a relatively cool tropical Atlantic,” forecasters wrote.