GUEST EDITORIAL: Active storm season on tap, experts say

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hurricane forecasters announced Tuesday that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season should be &8220;very active,&8221; with a good chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the U.S. coast.

After last year’s surprisingly calm storm season – which followed similar predictions – it would be easy for us to be complacent again about the upcoming hurricane season.

That’s exactly what we don’t need to do. We have all seen how powerful and devastating hurricanes can be, whether it was Ivan’s destruction here at home or Katrina’s devastation in New Orleans and the Mississippi gulf coast.

Email newsletter signup

Forecasters’ predictions for last season probably would have come true if not for a late El Nino that altered weather patterns. Most storms formed out at sea and stayed there. In fact, none hit the Atlantic coast – only the 11th time that has happened since 1945.

Forecaster William Gray has said he expects 17 named storms this year, including five major hurricanes. And he said the probability of a major hurricane making landfall on a U.S. coast this year is 74 percent.

That makes our chances of seeing a strong storm this year great.

And as we approach the hurricane season – which begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30 – we would all be wise to review our hurricane safety procedures and get our safety kits in order. All those tuna cans and peanut butter jars and water bottles that you didn’t use last season might need to be cleared out and replaced, and a good check of batteries and generators is in order.

We were lucky last year. We might not be so lucky again.