Believe it or not, hurricane season is just around the corner. In any given calendar year, the tropical storm season runs from approximately June 1 through November 30 in the Atlantic Ocean, Eastern U.S., and the Caribbean.
Now is the time to make preparations for the 2019 season. When it comes to a hurricane, don't "wing it." The flooding rains, behemoth storm surges, and powerful winds can surprise even the most experienced hurricane veteran.
Storms are unpredictable, be sure to follow our severe weather updates for up-to-date alerts from the nation's top weather and news outlets, or scroll to the bottom of this article for a live feed.
First, let's review what transpired last year. The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season produced a total of 15 named storms, including 8 hurricanes. Two of those hurricanes, Florence and Michael, were major storms that caused devastation in the southeastern U.S.
Hurricane Florence struck in early September 2018 and caused major flooding in the Carolinas. Hurricane Michael had the highest maximum sustained winds speeds to hit the mainland U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It struck in October 2018 and caused damage in Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Both storms combined caused more than 100 fatalities and nearly $50 billion in damage.
Colorado State University has released its August Atlantic Basin Seasonal Hurricane Forecast for 2019. This forecast is released to inform the general public about the upcoming season and promote hurricane preparedness well in advance.
Overall, these experts predict near-normal activity this hurricane season but warn that "it only takes one" storm to make a season active and cause damage.
Researchers made the predictions using a statistical prediction scheme with 29 years of data. Fourteen total named storms, including seven hurricanes, are expected, two of which will be major storms with Category 3-5 winds.
Experts also predict a 31 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall along the U.S. east coast, as well as the Gulf Coast.
What does all of this mean? Well, honestly, not a lot. There are many weather variables that impact the likelihood of a hurricane. As you may expect, these patterns can be difficult to predict and constantly evolving.
So as the hurricane season draws near (and as it begins), many organizations update their initial predictions. If we have learned anything from the past, though, it's that even hurricanes with a low category rating have wreaked serious havoc.
So just because 2019 is forecasted to have a weaker hurricane season than average now, doesn't mean it will stay that way.
Stay tuned for forecast updates, and remember to prepare for the storm, whether it comes or not.