NOAA Issues Its 2008 Hurricane Season Forecast

TAMPA, FL–On Thursday, the federal government agency in charge of monitoring our weather, NOAA, announced its annual hurricane season forecast for the upcoming 2008 year. According to the forecasters at NOAA, and its National Hurricane Center, you can anticipate anywhere between 12 to 16 named storms, 6 to 9 hurricanes, and as many as five major hurricanes. Named storms are those that have winds of at least minimal tropical storm force, or 39 miles per hour. Hurricanes are those that have winds of at least minimal hurricane force, or 74 miles per hour while major hurricanes are those that have winds exceeding 110 mph, or are at least Category Three Strength on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

However, keep in mind that both NOAA, and Dr. William Gray of Colorado State, have not had a lot of success with making accurate seasonal forecasts over the past several years. For example, back in the historic 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season, NOAA indicated that there would be between 12 to 15 named storms that season. Meanwhile, Dr. William Gray projected that there was going to be 17 named storms. The finally tally for that year would be about twice as much with 28 storms, the most ever on record. The following year, 2006, NOAA and Dr. Gray projected an above average season as well, and the final actual numbers were actually below the 50 year average, which was only the second time that had happened during this recent active cycle that began in the 1995 season. The other time was during the 1997 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Last year, both NOAA and Dr. Gray again indicated that there would be above average numbers for the season, and while the season was above average in the sense of the number of named storms (15), it was below the projected amount while the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes met only the 50 year averages.

Moral of the story: Prepare for anything. Don’t let the forecasts of an above average, average, or below average season determine how to get ready for these storms. You must realize that all it takes is one storm. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 proved that as the most costliest disaster in United States history until Katrina came along in 2005, and the Category Five storm that ravaged South Florida occurred in a below average season with just 7 named storms.