The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has released its annual hurricane season forecast for the Atlantic, and it calls for below average activity. But that doesn’t mean Connecticut is in the clear.
Government forecasters call for a total of six to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes and zero to two major hurricanes. This forecast falls well below the 1981-2010 average. On average, there are 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
Scientists at Colorado State University also release a seasonal hurricane forecast. William Gray and Philip Klotzbach are predicting seven named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane according to their forecast released in early April. They will release an update on June 1.
The best forecasts agree: activity will be below average. That may be good and bad news – good simply because it’s less tropical activity, and bad because some people may let their guard down.
It’s important to note: no long-range forecast can predict how many storms will actually make landfall. Of course, those are the storms that cause damage and make headlines.
"In our area, in Connecticut, in only takes one bad storm to create a disaster," said Old Saybrook Police Chief Michael Spera, who also serves as the town’s emergency management director and vice president of the Connecticut Emergency Management Association.
Spera recommends staying in tune with local officials and broadcasters when a tropical system threatens. As far as physical property and documents go, "everyone should have a ready kit."
That kit may include clothes, two to three days worth of food, extra prescription medication and important papers. This way, in the case of an evacuation, everyone would be ready to go.
"One of the things that we cannot do, is not stay vigilant" in the case of a below-average storm forecast, Spera said.
Take 1992, for example. Only one hurricane made landfall in the United States. Andrew grew to become a category 5 storm, hitting south Florida. It caused $26 billion in damage, and directly killed 26 people. Seasons like 1992 are cause for concern.
The best advice is to prepare and stay vigilant. When dangerous weather threatens, count on the First Alert weather team for the best information to keep you and your family safe.