Report gives early hurricane warning

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration joined the chorus of those predicting an active 2011 hurricane season in their official report received by Historic City News after it was released yesterday afternoon.

In an effort to urge Floridians to prepare for an “overactive hurricane season” NOAA is pushing the information out, in advance of National Hurricane Week — May 22nd – 27th. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.

NOAA estimates that between 12 and 18 named storms will form in the Atlantic, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes and three to six of those can could become major hurricanes, meaning Category 3, 4 or 5 and winds of more than 111 miles an hour.

Meteorologists estimate that a combination of warm water in the Atlantic, the dissipation of the La Niña winds, and the general high rate of atmospheric conditions conducive to hurricanes make the likelihood of several storms, falling into each of the categories described above, at 70 percent.

“In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

NOAA officials urge families and businesses to plan now what they’ll do when disaster strikes, by visiting ready.gov. Floridians are urged to visit floridadisaster.org.

“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,” said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco. “However, we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook.”

Florida was hit with a total of eight storms during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, but has not been hit with any hurricanes since that time. A major hurricane hitting the state could cause enormous losses for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the state-backed reinsurer the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

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