Hurricane Season Moves Into Busy Months
As the Atlantic hurricane season swings into its busiest months, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research announced last week that 60 percent of Florida residents polled feel a hurricane will likely not make landfall during the 2015 season. If ordered to evacuate in advance of a Category 1 storm, only 62 percent said they would leave.
This causes concern among forecasters and emergency managers, who have been increasingly emphasizing the danger of flooding from even a weak storm. "It does not take a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) to have a major impact. Just look at Isaac and Sandy," said National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb. "We work closely with emergency managers, and they don't make those evacuation decisions lightly."
This season, forecasters have predicted below average activity, with just six to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes and up to two major storms. That's largely due to an intense El Nino warming Pacific waters and driving winds that can keep hurricanes from forming. So far this year, the Atlantic has churned up just three tropical storms. Even so, forecasters point out that some of the Atlantic's worst hurricanes, including Andrew in 1992, occurred in slow years. Historically, the largest number of storms form between mid-August and late October.