After an initial prediction in May for a near-average season, experts recently downgraded their expectations to a "below-average" Atlantic hurricane season in 2018. The change was based on unusually cold temperatures in portions of the Atlantic Ocean which provides less fuel for developing storms.
The July outlook includes a total of 11 named storms which is down from the original prediction of 14. Of those 11 storms, four are expected to become hurricanes, including one major hurricane which is classified as Category 3 or higher. The first of the 11 storms was Subtropical Storm Albert that occurred in May. The early prediction in May by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was for 10 to 16 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes.
The updated prediction was released by Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science and researchers for its Tropical Meteorology Project. According to their report, the probability of a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coastline this year is 39 percent. The annual average is 52 percent probability.
Despite the new "below average" storm predictions, the report warns that residents should still prepare for storm season because even one hurricane making landfall could be a disaster.
In addition to having a good hurricane kit, residents should keep their insurance policy up-to-date and stored in a safe place.
"2017 was a year filled with record-setting disasters,” said Lynette Barba of Allstate Insurance in Mount Dora. “Now is a good time for an annual insurance review with your agent to better understand your coverages specific to hurricanes and floods."
When storms form in the Atlantic, residents can also follow these helpful websites and social media accounts: Ready.gov - This site provides natural disaster tips. Getagameplan.org - This site offers four different plans for enduring a natural disaster: family preparation, business preparation, mitigation and a kid-friendly checklist. • National Hurricane Center (also Twitter & Facebook) - Stay plugged into the NHC whenever you are in the ‘cone of uncertainty’ for storm updates. • National Weather Service (also on Twitter & Facebook) - This is a good source to keep up to date on all weather news and monitoring.
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