Hurricane Predictions: Feds Say to Hunker Down

The time to predict hurricane season has arrived, and -- as with Texans season previews -- what's predicted doesn't always tend to be what happens.

So get your grain of salt ready. (On the other hand, severe weather has been the norm elsewhere in the U.S. recently, so perhaps it is our time in the barrel.)

A "normal" hurricane season would have 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

The predictions of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): 12 to 18 named storms, six to ten hurricanes, three to six major hurricanes (Cat 3 or higher).

"The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season's tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "However, we can't count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook."

Why not? Why can't we count on luck? It worked last time!!

Here are your factors, weather geeks:

-- The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.

-- Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.

-- La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

So our advice: Invest in plywood futures. And canned-food companies.

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