AccuWeather predicts 16 tropical storms, 4 to become major hurricanes.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st, and it could be an active one. AccuWeather is forecasting 16 tropical storms will develop in 2013. Out of that number, eight will become hurricanes, four will be major hurricanes and three will make landfall.
"We do not think there will be the real pre-season development like we had last year," says Dan Kottlowski, an Expert Senior Meteorologist with AccuWeather. "We had two, pre-season storms develop last year. And this year, we don't think there's going to be that opportunity. But nonetheless, 16 is above the normal. The normal is now up to 12 storms per year."
Kottlowski says hurricanes develop as tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, usually when the ocean waters are warm. In addition, there could be fewer wind shears which can prevent the development of tropical storms. "We're noticing that the surface pressures, especially in the eastern and central Caribbean, and across much of the southern half of the tropical north Atlantic, are averaging well below normal," he says. "Another thing we're noticing too is warmer than normal ocean water temperatures off of the African coast, and that also allows there to be lower pressures."
Kottlowski says we also won't be seeing many Saharan dust storms coming off the coast of Africa. "Dust storms bring dry air across the Atlantic, and that tends to weaken tropical development," he says.
Most people think hurricanes are only a problem along the coast, but Kottlowski says some hurricanes do make it into the inland areas. "The fact that a lot of people are focused on landfall are not realizing that some of the biggest impacts occur because of inland flooding," he says. "Those of you who are living in Frederick should be on the alert."
In October, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made it to Frederick County, flooding roads, and knocking down trees and power lines.
Kottlowski says areas that were hit hard by Sandy last year could be affected by hurricanes or tropical storms in 2013.
AccuWeather says this hurricane season could begin quickly this year with developments in the Caribbean in June. In addition, strong storms are a possibility this year, category two or higher. And areas along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts are at risk for impacts from tropical storms, according to AccuWeather.
As a way to prepare for hurricanes or other emergencies, Kottlowski says you should have copies of all your important papers in a safe and accessible place so you can grab them if you have to evacuate, or if your home is destroyed and you want to rebuild. That includes the deed to your house, insurance policies and birth certificates.
He also says you should have an emergency kit with non-perishable food, bottled water, medications and other supplies, in case you lose power.
The 2013 Hurricane Season is expected to end on November 30th.