This summer may be extra eventful in the weather department.
According to the season outlook issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be above-normal.
The outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood for 12 to 18 named storms, with six to 10 of those storms becoming hurricanes and three to six reaching Category 3 or higher. The seasonal average is 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
“In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995,” Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, said.
Meteorologists came to these conclusions based on the continuing high activity era that since 1995 has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for storm development and on the fact that sea surface temperatures where most storms develop are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
Due to the fact that where the storm makes landfall is dictated by the weather patterns in place at that specific time, the outlook did not predict where or when these storms may hit.
A storm is named when its winds reach 39 mph or higher, and becomes a hurricane at 74 mph. The hurricane must have winds of 111 mph to become a Category 3, when it is considered a major hurricane.
The Atlantic Basin’s hurricane season is six months long and begins June 1. Researchers at Colorado State University have reported that there is a 72-percent chance that one major hurricane will hit the U.S. coast this year.
This information comes after a recent report of ten coastal metro areas by real estate firm CoreLogic found that Long Island has the most residential property at risk of being damaged by a hurricane, with nearly $1 trillion of damage possible. The firm focused on the impact of storm surge, which is the indirect damage from water and flying debris from strong winds, and found that only 21.8 percent of the at-risk properties fall within the boundaries of federal surge and flood zones, and 78 percent of the properties in just surge zones and not in flood zones.
Most meteorologists concur that a Category 5 hurricane is not likely here due to the cooler waters, but a Category 4 hurricane could expose 251,691 properties to flood or surge inundation. If a Category 1 storm hit Long Island it would cause more than $32.1 billion in property damage.
In 1938 the Long Island Express, a Category 3 hurricane, caused $308 million in damage at the time.