The last time a major hurricane struck South Florida was in August, 1992, when Hurricane Andrew, a powerful Category Four Hurricane, barreled into Homestead, Florida and caused some $27 billion dollars in damage. Before that, residents of that portion of the Sunshine State hadn't experienced a major hurricane in 27 years, when in 1965 Hurricane Betsy paid a visit. However, the pre-eminent hurricane forecaster, Dr. William Gray of Colorado State, believes that the increased hurricane activity in recent years reflects a trend of forecasted increased activity over the next twenty years, and some of that will impact Florida.
Citing a return of global conditions such as changes in ocean water characteristics, and sea surface temperatures throughout the Atlantic Basin, Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University, stated that Florida is long overdue to experience a major hurricane of Category Three strength or better. Increased activity in the Atlantic Basin since 1995 have give forecasters even more reason.
These conditions have developed to such a point that they parallel those conditions that existed in the Atlantic Basin during the years between 1931 and 1965 when 11 major hurricanes pummeled the peninsula, and that includes one each year between 1944 and 1950. This increase in tropical activity is expected to cause Floridians to experience losses to be ten times greater over the next 35 years than in the years from 1965 to 2000.
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Reasons for the predicted increase in losses is because the population continues to grow in South Florida. Forecasts call for the population there to double in the next 35 years to approximately 33 million people. Meanwhile, property values for the average Floridian is now twice as great as it was for the average Floridian some 35 years ago.
Gray is very fearful because he doesn't believe the current trend in hurricane activity is going to continue. The long run of recent luck that the East Coast of the United States has had due to a trough can't last forever. How could someone not believe that looking at the frequency patterns of landfalling hurricanes across the state over the past century including those striking at the same latitude or lower than Lake Okeechobee.
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The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st every year, and lasts until November 30th. The Atlantic Basin consists of the North Atlantic from the West Coast of Africa to the East Coast of the United States, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes have been up since 1995 as there have been an average of 13 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.
This has come about due to the La Nina, which is a phenomena that develops when sea surface temperatures in the Eastern and Central Pacific are cooler than normal. This anomaly changes the global weather patterns including making the upper level wind patterns more favorable toward tropical storm and hurricane development in the Atlantic Basin.
La Nina is opposite of El Nino, which is when warmer than normal sea surface temperatures dominate the Pacific Ocean. The last El Nino event occurred in 1998. Atlantic Hurricane activity during El Nino years is usually below normal like it was in 1997 when there was only 7 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane.
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