It’s that time of year

Published 8:08 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

It may be August, but lately it feels like September. The air temperatures have been cooler than normal, but out there in the world, off the coast, way out in the Atlantic Ocean, the water is actually warmer than usual this time of year.

A warmer ocean means a greater chance for storms — big storms.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week that scientists there were upping their predictions for this year’s hurricane season. Instead of 11 to 17 named storms, they’re now calling for 14 to 19 named storms; instead of the two to four major hurricanes they predicted at the start of the season, that estimate is now two to five.

If the first nine weeks of hurricane season are any indication, then the revised predictions are on the mark. There have already been six named storms this season — twice the number of named storms that usually form by early August and half the number of what’s usually seen during an entire six-month season.

“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center wrote in a statement. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”

While many may shrug their shoulders at the news, it deserves to be taken seriously. No one truly knows who will be impacted, often disastrously so, by any given storm until it actually happens. But even if it doesn’t seem like a predicted increase of, maybe, one more major hurricane this year is a big deal, it can be.

All it takes is one — one Irene, one Floyd, one Matthew. Be prepared for the most active hurricane season since 2010.