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 above average one, with 19 tropical storms and seven hurricanes, four of which were classified as “major hurricanes.” One of those, Irene, went much farther north and deeper inland than is normal for a hurricane. The average year sees around 11 tropical storms, and six hurricanes.
This year, the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a less active season. Our 2012 edition mentions only one potential hurricane threat in August, along the Gulf Coast from the 16th through the 19th. Moving into September, we see another possible threat for the Gulf Coast from the 8th through the 11th and a second, possibly related, system moving along the length of the East Coast, from the south into New England a few days later.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is also predicting a near-normal year with between nine and 15 tropical storms and between one and three major 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 of 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 2012
Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William