EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) just released their hurricane forecast for the upcoming 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
They are predicting a near normal season in terms of the number of named storms expected this year. The forecast says that we will see 9-15 named storms, 4-8 of which will become hurricanes. Of those 4-8 tropical cyclones that strengthen into hurricanes, they are predicting 1-3 of them will be major hurricanes.
The main underlying factor as to why NOAA is calling for less storms this year compared to the past couple of years is the weakening climate phenomena known as La Nina. La Nina is the climate pattern that has been taking place across the country over the past two years now. A La Nina pattern tends to favor more tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic basin. Now that it has weakened, conditions will not be as favorable for development, hence, the forecast calls for less storms this year.
Don't Let Your Guard Down
Despite the quieter forecast, we must not let our guard down. Do you remember what took place back in 2008? That is when Hurricane Ike came ashore along Galveston, Texas, and moved up into East Texas. It was the third costliest hurricane on record, with an estimated $27 billion dollars in damage that included the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Back in 1983, only four tropical storms developed, but one, Hurricane Alicia, moved into Southeast Texas and left widespread damage. Even though 1983 was one of the quietest years on record, Alicia left her mark on Texas, leading to over $4 billion dollars in damage.
The bottom line is regardless if we see twenty storms in a given season or just three, all it takes is just one to leave its imprint on a community.