This year wasn’t supposed to be an active one for hurricanes. But that forecast has apparently changed, along with the weather patterns. If the storm we had last Thursday – and an earlier storm that took place in June — are any indication of what Mother Nature has in store for us this year, then watch out. And be prepared, because it could get very messy. However, after the most recent foray, local government and PSE&G have shown they can handle the aftermath. That’s good.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30 every year. In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency that continually monitors oceanic and atmospheric patterns, predicted a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season with around nine to 15 named storms in which winds are higher than 39 miles per hour. They noted that four to eight of those storms could become hurricanes with wind speed exceeding 74 miles per hour, which is considered a typical Category 1 storm. However, they also noted that between two and four of them could become major 2,3,4 or heaven forbid, a Category 5 storm with sustained winds greater than 111 miles per hour.
The last major hurricane to hit our reader area was Sandy in 2012, which by the time it arrived locally, was only a Category 1. Believe it or not, there are families in Islip who are still feeling the effects of the devastation Sandy caused. Hurricanes are nothing to take lightly.
On Aug. 8, NOAA announced a change in their forecast for this season, noting that conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity. The reason? El Nino – the weather pattern that tends to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity – has now ended.
It’s a bit unnerving to hear for sure, especially since meteorologists are already tracking storms in the Atlantic, two of which are now considered ripe to become hurricanes. But the important thing to remember is to be prepared for them, and then hope it was all for naught and we just wind up breezing through this season.
For more information of hurricane preparedness, go to the following websites and follow the links: www.weather.gov, www.cdc.gov and www.beprepared.com.