Once again for the 2018 tropical Atlantic hurricane season, confusion, misinformation, hype, drama, etc., etc., once again rears its ugly head. As I write this Blog, the peak of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is upon us and it seems that we may be seeing another active and "possibly" deadly season like 2017.
What continues to bother me most is the lack of accuracy, miscommunication of facts, drama and hype and much more just for the sake of ratings. Furthermore, it is my opinion that these pre-season hurricane predictions on number of storms is just ridiculous and not needed. "It only takes one storm to ruin your life". It really doesn't matter how inactive the season is because it only takes ONE landfalling major hurricane to cause millions of dollars in damage and loss of life. You don't even need a "hurricane" for this to happen, even a tropical depression can stall inland for days and cause catastrophic flooding!
For example this 2018 season. Early forecasts were predicting a large number of storms and a very active season. Then August 2018 came and went and forecasters seem to wonder why August, being notorious for tropical activity, was so quiet. In fact, talk was that the lack of seeing one major hurricane form was record breaking? Talk was that it was linked to an El Nino pattern that had set up in the Pacific which usually causes an uptick in Pacific hurricane activity and a down tick in the Atlantic and this is what we saw and continued to see until we entered the peak of the season -- September.
So now we have 3 hurricanes in the Atlantic basin - Florence, Issac and Helene. Florence is predicted to become a major landfalling hurricane, possibly Cat.4, on the US southeast coast next week and Issac may follow a track towards the Carribbean. Hawaii has also seen historic landfalls this year with Lane and now Hurricane Olivier is forecast to hit them with more flooding rains. So, what happened to El Nino? Does this mean that we will be soon hearing from the experts that the "numbers" must, once again, be raised?
We need to focus on educating the public and especially the people living in the poorer regions of the Earth such as the Carribbean. We need to educate people on how to prepare for the annual hurricane season by June 1st of each year. Educate people on the how, what, when and why of tropical storm threats. How and when to evacuate. Educate the public on inland flooding threats, tornadoes spawned by landfalling tropical systems, how to prepare a family disaster kit, the serious threats of storm surge and so much more. Why are certain organizations and people concentrating on the annual numbers?
It is my opinion that every individual living in a hurricane zone needs to take a basic Weather 101 and Hurricane 101 course and have a NOAA Weather Radio. These should be done for free so that money and poverty does not play a role in someone's decision not to take the course or purchase the NOAA Weather Radio. Let's petition the powers that be to STOP making annual hurricane forecasts based on the "number of storms".