NOAA Issues Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, Encourages Preparedness
May 21, 2009 – NOAA forecasters say a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. However, as with any season, the need to prepare for the possibility of a storm striking near you is essential.
“Today, more than 35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Timely and accurate warnings of severe weather help save lives and property. Public awareness and public preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane.”
In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center calls for a 50 percent probability of a near-normal season, a 25 percent probability of an above-normal season and a 25 percent probability of a below-normal season. Global weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the 2009 hurricane season outlook than in recent years. Forecasters say there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).
“This outlook is a guide to the overall expected seasonal activity. However, the outlook is not just about the numbers, it’s also about taking action,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Prepare for each and every season regardless of the seasonal outlook. Even a near- or below-normal season can produce landfalling hurricanes, and it only takes one landfalling storm to make it a bad season.”
See also our weather section: Weather patterns explained