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Experts: Be Prepared for Hurricane Season Regardless of Prediction

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Monday, May 21, 2018   

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — While hurricane experts predict a slightly less active Atlantic hurricane season this year, they maintain it's important to be prepared, since it only takes one catastrophic storm to cause widespread death and destruction.

During the 32nd annual Governor's Hurricane Conference in West Palm Beach on Friday, weather experts from Colorado State University previewed the upcoming release of their official forecast for this year's hurricane season starting in June. Those experts are expecting 12 named storms - down from their earlier prediction of 14.

But Ken Graham, the new director of the National Hurricane Center, said while forecasting is getting better, people always should brace for the worst.

"You know, if we think about it, if there is only one storm on Earth and it happens to come to Florida, then it's a busy season,” Graham said. “So, really, the preparedness is everything. We have to prepare as if we're going to be hit every single year."

Last year, Colorado State experts predicted a below-average season of 11 tropical storms, including four hurricanes. The 2017 hurricane season produced 17 named storms with 10 hurricanes. The team's official forecast for this year's season will be released May 30.

Graham said even as forecasting improves, one of the main challenges he hopes to address is figuring out how many impacts there could be outside the forecast cone.

"Hundreds of miles away from that cone, you can still get tornadoes, heavy rain and the winds,” he said; “so it's something we got to talk about: how to communicate all those impacts well away from the hurricane itself."

Forecasts predict how active a season can be, but they don't predict landfalls. That's why Graham said it's important to prepare for any approaching storm. In 2017, there were six major hurricanes. And Harvey and Irma were the first two to hit the U.S. in 12 years.


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