'Tis the (Hurricane) Season, Almost

June starts hurricane season for the Atlantic basin; scientists predict less activity

Atlantic hurricanes

Atlantic hurricanes

NOAA Photo Library

Writing about hurricanes has become habitual for me. No, I don't think I'm paranoid nor alarmist. But I have a healthy respect for big storms and what they can do to the people and landscape. I'm a native Floridian and have lived through a few nasty blows.

So, now that it’s mid-May, my seasonal alarm has sounded: time to look at 2012 hurricane predictions. Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30.

The Tropical Meterorology Project website's most recent report, dated April 1, calls for 10 named storms in 2012; four hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The probability that at least one major hurricane will make landfall somewhere on the U.S. coastline is 42 percent. The report points out that the average probability for the last century is 52 percent.

The probability that a major will hit the U.S. East Coast is 24 percent; ditto for the Gulf Coast — both below long-term averages. While this news is good, it shouldn’t make any of us take for granted what just one storm can do. And in fact, it seems that storms have an evil mind of their own: Just when we lull ourselves into some state of denial, a Katrina happens.

The moral: Have a hurricane plan. Boating anglers should study up on procedures. BOAT U.S. has a great hurricane preparedness website to help you plan ahead. Most of all, heed warnings and evacuations.

The Tropical Meterorology Project should update its season predictions on June 1. Have a safe summer.