PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – On the official start of hurricane season in the United States, the National Hurricane Center is already tracking what is believed to become our first named storm of the year.
“We’re getting off right here on time I think by this time tomorrow we could have Alex down there,” said Mark Wool, the Warning Coordinator with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.
This year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting above-average activity.
“So we’re forecasting 14-21 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 majors so that’s a 65% confidence that we’ll have an above-normal season and there’s a 25% chance that it will be near normal,” said Wool.
This above-average confidence matches the tropical forecast from last year, due to the ongoing La Nina formation that meteorologists have noted over the past 3 hurricane seasons. A phenomenon that is thought to aid in tropical development, due to light winds in the Atlantic each year it forms.
Interestingly, this is one of the first years in a long time, that an Atlantic storm hasn’t been named before June 1st.
Wool explained, “There were 7 consecutive seasons where a system developed somewhere in the Atlantic basin before June 1st, so this is the first time in 8 years that we haven’t had a preseason system, but I don’t think that means we can exhale and take a deep breath, because we’re still expecting it to be busier than normal.”
Wool suggests everyone living along the Gulf Coast should get their hurricane preparedness plan together now in case of emergency.
If you still need to put a hurricane kit together, Florida’s annual disaster preparedness sales tax holiday is still going on through June 10th. A list of eligible items is on the Florida Department of Revenue website.
If you need help deciding on items for a hurricane preparedness kit the NWS recommends hurricane.gov