Reprinted courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice
By Rob Morris on June 1, 2017
With one named storm already in the books, the hurricane season officially starts today.
NOAA’s forecast for this year says the season will be above normal after a 2016 stretch that saw the number of storms run deep into the alphabet of names and persist to the end November.
The Outer Banks felt the effects of two storms, Hermine and Matthew. Matthew caused widespread flooding from rain, a rare event in an area that usually is hit by high surf, ocean overwash and soundside inundation.
A normal season is considered to be 12 named storms with six hurricanes, three of them major, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“Last year produced five land-falling storms, including Matthew that caused $10 billion in damage and killed 34 people in the U.S. and 551 in the Caribbean. It was one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes on record,” NOAA wrote in its summary issued last week.
Included in the numbers for this year is Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed out in the Atlantic in April.
Weather conditions on the other side of the world have a lot to do with how the hurricane season plays out. One of them is El Nino, a band of warm water in the Pacific Ocean.
“Strong El Ninos and wind shear typically suppress development of Atlantic hurricanes, so the prediction for weak conditions points to more hurricane activity this year. Also, warmer sea surface temperatures tend to fuel hurricanes as they move across the ocean.
“However, the climate models are showing considerable uncertainty, which is reflected in the comparable probabilities for an above-normal and near-normal season.”