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August 25, 2009

Storm Warnings

Boaters Beware: Peak of Hurricane Season Still to Come

The appearance last week of several named storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico - Ana and Bill - resonates as a wake-up call to anglers and boaters: The worst may be yet to come. Tropical activity, though mostly dormant this June and July, is expected to peak in September. 

"While this hurricane season has gotten off to a quiet start, it's critical that the American people are prepared in case a hurricane strikes," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke wrote in a recent hurricane news advisory wherein the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lowered the 2009 storm outlook. NOAA now expects a near- to below-normal hurricane season.

Forecasters predict seven to 11 named storms (down from nine to 14), of which three to six could become hurricanes (down from four to seven), including one to two major hurricanes (down from one to three).

Experts attribute the more placid weather to the development of an El Niño system - warmer than normal waters along the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean. The system produces strong upper-level westerly winds that blow away the tops of growing storm clouds in the Caribbean and Atlantic, NOAA officials said.

But BoatU.S., a national boat owners group, reminds mariners that all it takes is one hurricane to demolish boats, marinas and waterfront structures. In a recent warning, the organization offered free help to boaters in the form of an online help tool and downloadable guides for properly preparing boats for storms. Read more at this link: