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The 2017 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

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Hurricane season officially gets underway on June 1 and runs through November 30th. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this time period is when 97% of all Atlantic tropical cyclones/ hurricanes occur. Activity tends to increase beginning in mid-August and typically peaks on or around September 10. Occasionally a hurricane will form in May and sometimes even as late as December.

But the first tropical storm of 2015 made landfall in South Carolina back on May 10th (named “Ana”). Does the fact that things started a bit early mean we’re in for a stronger-than-normal hurricane season?

In a typical hurricane season there are 11 named storms.  Six become hurricanes and two of these turn into “major” hurricanes, with a category 3 or higher. Over the last 60 years, eight of those years saw a tropical cyclone form prior to the start of the official hurricane season (June 1).

In one of those years, 1959, there were eleven named storms. The other seven years, there were more than eleven.  In fact, in 1981 there were 22 named storms.  In 2003, one storm formed in April (also bearing the name “Ana;” storm names are recycled every six years), two months before the actual season. That season produced 21 tropical cyclones, 16 of which developed into named storms; seven cyclones attained hurricane status, of which three reached major hurricane status.

So it is possible that a year where the first tropical system appears prior to June 1 does suggest a higher-than-normal incidence of tropical activity.

So What’s In Store For This Season?
The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting that Florida and the Carolinas will be in the crosshairs for tropical cyclone activity in late July, followed by another threat to Florida in late August, and along the Gulf Coast in early September.  A threat to the Texas Coast could come in mid-September. And if that weren’t enough, a very unusual late-season tropical system could again threaten the Gulf Coast during the second week of November.

How Do Hurricanes Get Named?Storm damaged cars
The tradition of weather forecasters giving every tropical storm and hurricane a name began in 1953. Until 1979, those names were exclusively female. Now, they use a six-set list that alternates between male and female names, listed alphabetically and in chronological order, starting with A and omitting Q and U, X, Y, and Z. If more than 21 names are required during a season, NOAA dips into the Greek alphabet as it did a few years ago. Every six years, the names cycle back around and get reused.

If a hurricane does tremendous damage, however, (i.e. Andrew, Camille, Katrina, Sandy), the name is retired, due to sensitivity, and replaced by a different name beginning with the same letter.

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 24 – 30) so be sure to check out these important links from the Farmers’ Almanac:

Emergency Preparedness: Is Your Pet Safe?

Disaster Safety Quiz: Do You Know What To Do?

Hurricane Glossary

Preparing A Disaster Kit



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