2010 – MORE HURRICANES. The Big Question: Where?

El Nino is weakening and seasonal warming of Atlantic waters is underway. This year’s hurricane season will not be like 2009 when there were only 9 Atlantic storms.

The Colorado forecast team, headed by Phil Klotzbach, is expecting 15 named storms, 8 of them reaching hurricane strength. Half of these hurricanes are forecast to have sustained winds higher than 110 mph, which are classified as major hurricanes.

The hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30. That’s a total of 183 days. The number of days with a tropical storm over Atlantic waters is expected to be 75, which is the equivalent of two and a half months. Almost half of these days, 35 are expected to contain hurricanes, 10 of them being major storms.

If or where a hurricane strikes cannot be determined until the stage is set. Tracking each storm’s location, intensity, and direction of motion is the first act in showing you what may lie ahead. The part that will remain behind the curtain of uncertainty is where the storm’s path will lead. Many storms spend most of their days over the source of their energy, the warm ocean waters. The track will depend on the ultimate location of the Atlantic subtropical high, known as the Bermuda or Azores high, waves or troughs in the polar jet streams, and other weather systems. These factors will remain secret until each storm’s path can be determined by computer models and developing atmospheric patterns several days in advance.

All we can do now is look at the chance that a hurricane will strike. Based on studies of previous seasons, there’s a 45% chance a hurricane will strike part of the US coast between Maine and the Florida peninsula. There’s no way to tell exactly where until the ultimate course is set by atmospheric conditions.

At this time we can only look at our own situation – vulnerability to rising waters from the ocean, rain swollen rivers, or areas of poor drainage. Flood insurance cannot be obtained once the storms are out there. If you live in an evacuation zone, plans must be made where you will relocate. Remember your pets – don’t leave them behind. You can check the internet for pet friendly hotels. If your home well-built and not subject to flooding, you will likely be able to weather the storm there and avoid congested roadways.. There will be thousands of others who will need the highways to evacuate their storm-threatened areas.

As in years past, the National Weather Service, the City of Jacksonville and Emergency Operations Center, the American Red Cross, and WJXT will be here to lead through this 2010 hurricane season.

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