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Experts weigh in on active hurricane season

This year’s hurricane season appears to be developing into an active one. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting 13 to 20 named storms. According to the center, six to 10 of these storms could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). This prediction includes that as many as three to five major hurricanes (category three, four or five with winds of 111 mph or higher) could develop.

As a comparison, the average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, with six of those becoming hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Why Such an Active Season?

According to NOAA, El Nino conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina. That means there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. Other factors that increase the likelihood of an active season include

  • warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea
  • enhanced west-African monsoon season
  • weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds

Experts do not anticipate that this year will reach the level of historic activity as 2020. Last year, there were 30 named storms including six major hurricanes.  Twelve storms made landfall in the United States.

Prepare Now

“Preparing early is he best way to protect your home and family,” said Mike Phillips, director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “Plan and prepare now. Waiting until a storm is headed toward Alabama is the absolute worst thing you can do.”

Plan

  • Create emergency plans.
  • Find multiple evacuation routes.
  • Establish a meeting place away from home.

Prepare

  • Take a first aid class.
  • Practice evacuating your home.
  • Store emergency contacts in phones and list on paper.
  • Build emergency kits for home, car and work.

More Information

Phillips encourages Alabama residents to bookmark Alabama Extension’s Emergency Handbook on their mobile devices. The handbook brings together recommendations from national emergency response agencies and major universities into one easy-to-understand, interactive reference.

The materials in the handbook address nearly 50 disaster preparation and recovery topics in four broad categories including people and pets, home and business, landscape and garden and farms and livestock. The Alabama Extension Emergency Handbook is also available as a free iBook download.