A kind of cyclone that creates a system of severe thunderstorms with winds above 75 mph, hurricanes are dangerous because of the high winds that develop into a circular rotation as well as the storm surge and substantial rain that accompanies them.

According to FEMA, between 1970 and 1999, more people lost their lives from freshwater inland flooding associated with land falling tropical cyclones than from any other weather hazard related to tropical cyclones.

The Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team said that the 2010 Atlantic season would produce an above average eight hurricanes. The leading storm research team founded by forecast pioneer William Gray said the six-month season beginning on June 1 would likely see 15 named tropical storms.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said we would see 14 to 23 named storms in the 2010 season, with 8 to 14 developing into hurricanes. Three to seven of those could be Category 3 or above. NOAA's administrator; Jane Lubchenco was quoted as saying in early 2010; "If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record."

2010 was in fact a very active season, with a total of 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 category 3 or higher storms.

Bill Read, Director of the National Hurricane Center said that one must prepare every season as if a major storm will impact you so please keep that in mind no matter what the pre-season predictions may say.

NOAA’s updated 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook calls for an 85% chance of an above-normal season, and a 15% chance of a near-normal season.

There is no expectation for a below-normal season. Therefore, 2011 is expected to become the twelfth above-normal season since 1995. This updated outlook reflects a higher likelihood of an above-normal season compared to the pre-season outlook issued in May 2011, which indicated a 65% chance of an above-normal season.

The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.

The 2011 season is expected to be comparable to a number of active seasons since 1995. NOAA estimates a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity during 2011:

14-19 Named Storms
7-10 Hurricanes
3-5 Major Hurricanes

If you live in coastal areas, such as the south-eastern seaboard and central-southern coast of the United States, you have historically experienced dozens of these storms. Prepare well before the season approaches.

1) First, plan and know your evacuation route. Don’t wait until told to evacuate. Leave as soon as possible once a dangerous storm is predicted.

2) Keep vehicles serviced. Keep full fuel tanks and an emergency supply bag in the vehicle.

3) Ensure all battery operated gear such as flashlights, two-way radios, weather radios and cell phones are fully charged and easy to find.

4) Stay aware of the weather forecasts. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.

5) Turn off water and natural gas to the home. If your home is supplied with LPG gas from a tank located outside your home, be sure to turn this off at the tank and at the house. If on city or utility company provided natural gas, know where the gas meter connects to your house outside the structure. Learn how to use a crescent wrench, vise grips, or pipe wrench to close the supply valve. Know where the main water pipe enters your home and how to turn off the water valve at the meter. Turn off water well pump(s).

6) If you plan to stay home and weather the storm, having the following items in addition to those listed in the Supply List may help reduce the damage to your home/building;

4’x8’ sheets of plywood - enough to cover all ground level windows and doors.

Nails and long wood-screws to secure plywood to structure.

Rolls of a heavy guage plastic sheeting to help keep water from coming in through door and windows.

Be sure to have a safe supply of water on hand - see Water Storage & Safety

Have these items on hand well in advance of any forecasted storm as your local hardware and home improvement stores will quickly sell out of all emergency items during storm warnings.

Always stay up to date with the most recent weather information at the National Hurricane Center

Natural Disasters