The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) yesterday stressed the need for residents of hurricane-prone areas to prepare every year, despite its prediction of a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said:
NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years. But regardless of the outlook, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.Ã¢â‚¬
Andrew, the category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992, was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.
NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outlook for the 2012 season which begins June 1, says thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4, or 5).
It also cited Hurricane Irene in 2011 as a reminder that tropical systems can affect the Northeast and bring the threat of inland flooding.
NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outlook does not predict how many storms will hit land, but earlier this week, London-based consortium Tropical Storm Risk predicted two hurricanes would make U.S. landfall in 2012, close to the 1950-2011 norm.
Here’s an animation of the 2011 season, courtesy of NOAAVisualizations: