May 31, 2007
All the top hurricane forecasters are predicting an above average year for tropical activity.
Forecasters are warning that this season could be more like 2005. That season brought us a record number of storms including Rita and Katrina.
Scientists from NOAA the National oceanic and atmospheric administration predict an above-average season with 13 to 17 named storms this year seven to ten of them becoming hurricanes and three to five of those becoming major hurricanes.
NOAA Lead Forecaster Dr. Gerry Bell: "Seasons with similar levels of activity have historically had two to four landfalling U.S. hurricanes."
Secretary of homeland security Michael Chertoff: "There is no guarantee that this season is gonna be anything less than very tough."
Last year, scientists who use satellites, computers and complex weather calculations got fooled into predicting another active season. They were surprised by the late development of El Nino. It warmed waters in the pacific ocean which created wind shear that suppressed atlantic hurricane development.
But that's not expected to happen this year. Instead forecasters predict a busy year like 2005. This time, the government says it's ready and wants coastal residents to be ready also.
Michael Chertoff: "There is no guarantee that this season is going to be anything less than very tough."
David Paulison with FEMA: "My concern is the complacency that we've seen in the past."
Director - National Hurricane Center Bill Proenza: "We're always concerned that infrequency can be disarming."
NOAA Administrator Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher, PhD: "It just takes it one hurricane to make it a bad year for everyone here."
It's also important to remember, that this is not the last word on hurricane predictions. Forecasters will come out with a mid-season prediction in a few months that will give us a clearer picture on this year's hurricane season.