The fast approaching Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be busier than usual, according to an outlook released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Forecasters expect between 13 and 19 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes during the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
“As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season,” Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, said in a news release. “Just as in years past, NOAA experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe.”
While the seasonal forecast reflects expected activity, it does not forecast weather storm systems will make landfall.
The strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year is driven by a combination of several climate factors, including warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and forecast trends in the El Niño Southern Oscillation.
NOAA’s predictions are inline with those from the Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, which forecast 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes for the upcoming season.
Victoria County’ Emergency Management Coordinator Rick McBrayer previously told the Advocate that preparation is essential regardless of predictions.
“What we focus on is that we’re in a tropical region so we’ve got to be prepared,” he said.
Response plans are expected to be altered this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has consumed the focus of officials during the last few months.
Adjustments to preparations for the season are already underway. FEMA reported that the agency is preparing for the worst, including strategizing evacuation and sheltering protocols that will account for social distancing.
“Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more,” Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA, said in a news release. “Natural disasters won’t wait, so I encourage you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones.”