Today marks the start of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a normal storm season, but a busier season with regard to the number of hurricanes that will develop. The current forecast calls for:
To track storms and hurricanes that develop each year, a list of male and female names is developed by the World Meteorological Organization. The benefits of giving tropical storms short, distinctive names is to avoid confusion and to make communication about them easier. (Until the early 1950s, storms were tracked by the year and in the order that they occurred.) In 1953, the U.S. used female names and by 1978 both male and female names were given to identify storms in the Northern Pacific. Then, in 1979 this method was adopted for naming storms in the Atlantic basin. The list of names is used on a six-year rotation. The only time that a change would occur to the list of names, is if a storm or hurricane is so deadly that the future use of its name would be inappropriate. If in a given season there are more than 21 tropical storms or hurricanes, the list would be continued using the Greek alphabet. Here is a list of names that will be used during the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season:
*Alex was used during a rare January storm, therefore this season will start with Bonnie
Along with their name, each storm is given a category to gauge the type of damage that can be expected. The scale ranges from 1-5, with 3 to 5 representing a major storm. Here is the breakdown of each category:
74 – 95 mph winds with minor damage: may include damage to shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters or broken tree branches.
96 – 110 mph winds with extensive damage: will include roof and siding damage, shallow rooted trees uprooted or snapped, and power loss with outages that could last several days.
111 – 129 mph winds with devastating damage: homes may have major damage such as removal of roof decking and gamble ends, many trees uprooted or snapped, and electricity unavailable for several days or weeks.
130 – 156 mph winds with catastrophic damage: well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of roof and some exterior walls, the majority of trees uprooted, power lines and poles down. The affected area will be uninhabitable and power outages will last for weeks or months.
157 mph or higher with catastrophic damage: a majority of homes will be destroyed. Fallen trees and power lines will isolate the residential areas. The affected area will be uninhabitable and power outages will last for weeks or months.
Hurricanes can affect a majority of the U.S. and not just the Southern or Eastern coastlines. The storms can travel to the Midwest and Northern parts of country as well, also causing damage to those areas. When there are tropical storms, keep an eye on your local weather in case the storm travels to your neck of the woods.