NEW YORK (AP) — Federal forecasters predict a slower than usual hurricane season this year.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday released its outlook for the six-month storm season that begins June 1.
The outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season. For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 8 to 13 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA administrator said, “And even though we expect El Niño to suppress the number of storms this season, it’s important to remember it takes only one land falling storm to cause a disaster.”
Forecasters got it wrong last year when they predicted an unusually busy hurricane season. There were just 13 named storms and two hurricanes — both of them a Category One — and no major hurricanes with winds over 110 mph.
Colorado State University researchers have forecast nine named storms, with just three expected to become hurricanes and one major storm. Read more here
Officials also rolled out high-resolution maps that will show people where to expect storm surge. More on that here
“The prediction of a below normal hurricane season should not be taken to mean Virginia won't be impacted this year,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “Let’s all remember that it only takes one storm to cause severe damage and even loss of life. Everyone should get ready now for this hurricane season.”
May 25-31 is Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week in Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) said, “As we saw in years past storms like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, these storms can result in tragic deaths and tremendous damage to homes and businesses."
Jeff Stern, the state coordinator of emergency management, says it's important to make sure you're prepared - with supplies and insurance. He notes that just an inch of water in a small home can lead to more than $10,000 in losses; two inches of water in a mid-size home could cost $21,000 in damage and property loss. Renters and business owners also can get flood insurance. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.