Hurricane Season is Here: Is it Time to Batten Down the Hatches?

The National Hurricane Center releases its outlook for the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which begins June 1.

A home that has been elevated in Long Beach in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: Joe Kellard)
A home that has been elevated in Long Beach in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: Joe Kellard)
Last year, experts said to expect a busy hurricane season and it was the least active in 30 years. This year, they're saying not to expect much activity. 

The National Hurricane Center echoed experts' predictions for average to below average activity in its Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook released May 22.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. In its outlook, which takes into account current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, the National Hurricane Center estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during 2014:

  • 8-13 named storms
  • 3-6 hurricanes
  • 1-2 major hurricanes

One variable here: El Nino. "One uncertainty in this 2014 outlook lies in exactly when El Niño will develop and how strong it will become," the Center states. "Cooler Atlantic SSTs [sea surface temperatures] and a stronger El Niño could produce activity levels near the lower end of the predicted ranges, while warmer Atlantic SSTs and a weaker El Niño could result in activity toward the higher end of the predicted ranges."

As it does each year, the Center will release another outlook in early August, ahead of the peak of hurricane season.

Be Prepared

As hurricane season draws near, officials at every level of government and public safety have been urging residents to be sure they are prepared for the worst. Here are three resources to get you started:

What's in a Name?

In the Atlantic Ocean, tropical storms that reach a sustained wind speed of 39 miles per hour are given a name, such as "Tropical Storm Fran." If the storm reaches a sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour it is called a hurricane — such as "Hurricane Fran." So, hurricanes are not given names, tropical storms are given names, and they retain their name if they develop into a hurricane. 

If the 2014 season does see a tropical storm/hurricane, here are the names you'll see:

  • Arthur 
  • Bertha 
  • Cristobal 
  • Dolly 
  • Edouard 
  • Fay 
  • Gonzalo 
  • Hanna 
  • Isaias 
  • Josephine 
  • Kyle 
  • Laura 
  • Marco 
  • Nana 
  • Omar 
  • Paulette 
  • Rene 
  • Sally 
  • Teddy 
  • Vicky 
  • Wilfred 
Some names you'll never see again on a hurricane list, because the storms were so bad they were retired, are:
  • Agnes  1972
  • Alicia  1983
  • Allen  1980
  • Allison  2001
  • Andrew  1992
  • Anita  1977
  • Audrey  1957
  • Betsy  1965
  • Beulah  1967
  • Bob  1991
  • Camille  1969
  • Carla  1961
  • Carmen  1974
  • Carol  1954
  • Celia  1970
  • Cesar  1996
  • Charley  2004
  • Cleo  1964
  • Connie  1955
  • David  1979
  • Dean  2007
  • Dennis  2005
  • Diana  1990
  • Diane  1955
  • Donna  1960
  • Dora  1964
  • Edna  1968
  • Elena  1985
  • Eloise  1975
  • Fabian  2003
  • Felix  2007
  • Fifi  1974
  • Flora  1963
  • Floyd  1999
  • Fran  1996
  • Frances  2004
  • Frederic  1979
  • Georges  1998
  • Gilbert  1988
  • Gloria  1985
  • Gustav  2008
  • Hattie  1961
  • Hazel  1954
  • Hilda  1964
  • Hortense  1996
  • Hugo  1989
  • Igor  2010
  • Ike  2008
  • Inez  1966
  • Ingrid  2013
  • Ione  1955
  • Irene  2011
  • Iris  2001
  • Isabel  2003
  • Isidore  2002
  • Ivan  2004
  • Janet  1955
  • Jeanne  2004
  • Joan  1988
  • Juan  2003
  • Katrina  2005
  • Keith  2000
  • Klaus  1990
  • Lenny  1999
  • Lili  2002
  • Luis  1995
  • Marilyn  1995
  • Michelle  2001
  • Mitch  1998
  • Noel  2007
  • Opal  1995
  • Paloma  2008
  • Rita  2005
  • Roxanne  1995
  • Sandy  2012
  • Stan  2005
  • Tomas  2010
  • Wilma  2005

Did you experience any of these bad hurricanes? How did you survive it?
Tony May 31, 2014 at 09:36 AM
The Atlantic as a whole shouldn't be too warm and the El Niño that develops will be a mild one. The main problem this year is that the very warm water in the Atlantic will be pushed up closer to the coast which spells trouble. You won't see too many storms develop in the eastern Atlantic and travel across. They'll develop quickly nearshore and cause problems. And despite the president's climate change doomsday causing more severe hurricanes---- ONLY 20 MAJOR HITS LAST 43, YEARS, 35 PREVIOUS 40. Prior to the satellite era, the only info we had on storms in the middle of the oceans were from ships and we had no idea of the actual strength of those storms. But, the Pacific has cooled and the Atlantic is near the end of it's warm cycle which means besides the global climate cooling considerably over the next 25 years or so, more storms will develop in close the next year or 2 so be ready.
Ron May 31, 2014 at 01:02 PM
We would do as we did the past two hurricanes. Book a flight to our place in SW Florida and come back when power is back on.
C O May 31, 2014 at 08:50 PM
Or just do as any prepared common sense using person would do....buy a generator, keep batteries, food, water, candles/flashlights, gas, etc....just another govt spook to spike spending. I've "prepped" for years. Had a nice camp out a year and half ago. People freak when they don't have electric. Learn to enjoy it. Sandy should of been a learning lesson. Anyone that goes without after the next "big one" is just ignorant......and for the whiners out there I too had close ones have their homes destroyed. They stayed with us, friends, and other family while the rebuilt. Then they sold their homes and bought in a safer location.
Bill L. June 01, 2014 at 06:58 AM
Oh no...people should have the right to rebuild on the same spot Mother Nature wiped out using taxpayer's money. That's the new American Way.
Frank Esposito June 02, 2014 at 09:26 AM
3,142 days since the last U.S. major hurricane landfall..................... http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/05/30/atlantic-hurricane-season-begins-sunday-will-record-streak-without-major-hurricane-end/


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