We are less than a week away from the beginning of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season. Now we have all of the seasonal outlooks in hand including the NOAA forecast released today. While I appreciate the attempts at these seasonal outlooks they are pretty much useless for the general public other than to raise awareness for hurricane preparedness. The number of storms in the entire Atlantic basin certainly could increase or decrease chances of a localized impact. In reality, it really only takes one storm hitting your location for it to be a bad season. So while we looking at the number of storms is fun, lets make sure we are ready for any storm.
By all accounts, I agree with the reduced overall activity mainly due to the impacts of the developing very strong El Nino in the Pacific. Which makes storm develop difficult in the primary develop region of the Atlantic basin. Though we should be cautious because while EL Nino tends to reduce storm develop in the deep tropics it can help cause homegrown development. Which are storms that develop closer into the U.S. mainland.
Numbers really don’t matter!
So the number of storms can be really misleading. Take for instance these 2 seasons 1992 and 2010. One had very few storms and one had a ton of storms both with far different impacts. In 1992 the one storm that did hit the U.S. out of the 6 was Hurricane Andrew, one of the worst storms in U.S. history. Then in 2010 there were 19 storms which was very much above average but just one weak tropical storm made landfall in the U.S.
In the end be prepared and have your hurricane plan ready to go and in place for when we do get threatened by a hurricane. Plan for the worst and hope for the best each season.