Hurricane season is almost here! The season for tropical storms spans from June 1 through November 30, though activity tends to increase beginning in mid-August, and typically peaks on or around Sept. 10.
Last year’s hurricane season was an extremely active one, with 19 named storms, more than any year since 2005 (the year Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit). The average year sees around 11 tropical storms, and six hurricanes.
This year, we’re predicting another above average season, beginning with a tropical disturbance in New England during the opening days of August. Things will really get going in late August, though. We’re calling for hurricane threats over the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States at the end of August and beginning of September, and a less severe threat later that same week over Texas and Louisiana. We’re expecting another tropical storm to strike Southeastern states in mid-to-late September, making the heart of the season a bit longer than normal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is also predicting a very active year, with as many as 18 storms for the coming season, including 10 hurricanes.
Why Name Hurricanes?
The tradition of weather forecasters giving every tropical storm and hurricane a name began in 1953. Until 1979, those names were exclusively female. Now, we use a six set lists that alternate between male and female names, listed alphabetically and in chronological order starting with A and omitting Q and U, X, Y, and Z. If more than 21 names are required during a season, NOAA dips into the Greek alphabet as it did a couple years ago. Every six years, the names cycle back around and get reused. If a hurricane does tremendous damage (i.e. Andrew, Camille, Katrina), the name is retired and replaced by a different name beginning with the same letter.
Here is the list for 2011:
Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, Whitney.
To see more detailed predictions for your region, be sure to check our long range forecast.