Hurricane season is three weeks away, officially running from June 1 to Nov. 30, with September being prime time for big hurricane strikes.
Even though devastating Sandy pummeled the East coast during the month of October, the super storm sits in a category all by itself. A killer storm unleashing all of its fury upon residents whom at the very least never really had to deal with hurricanes—and even with all the dire predictions never could really grasp if this could truly be.
I remember forecasting Sandy to all my Twitter followers and eventually being called by the Howard Stern Show to help prepare for the upcoming storm. Never did I see so many of Howard’s team actually deeply concerned and Howard himself concerned, especially for his parents living on Long Island.
When I got on that morning and was quickly escorted into the studio, I was nervous as hell, not because I was going on his show but I had a terrible feeling inside me. In all my 30 years of forecasting, (including the Air Force) Hurricane Andrew, Katrina, Hugo, etc., Sandy was a storm so massive in size, and heading directly from East to West and was going to slam into the New Jersey Shore in combination with an astronomical high tide and completely flood hugely populated areas from New Jersey to Massachussetts.
When I was forecasting the Queens-Midtown tunnel to flood and that the Jersey shore would have a reconfigured coastline, and western sections of Long Island would experience unprecedented flooding, it made me sick inside.
There was extreme pressure to get the word out, without creating panic, and hoping folks would heed the warnings, despite hearing dire predictions before only to flee for nothing. If you’re a meteorologist and you’re forecasting this to happen and it doesn’t, you are completely crucified. If you underplay it and people lives are lost, you get crucified. And trust me, deservedly so.
Nobody feels worse about it then the meteorologist who got it wrong.
I know thousands of people are still suffering because of Sandy and I’m worried because we will continue to be in a cycle of extreme weather throughout our lifetimes and our children’s lifetimes.
The forecast for this upcoming Hurricane season is explosive. All the top forecasting hurricane experts in the country are predicting 18-19 named storms. The average is 12. Nine of those could become become hurricanes. The average is 6.5. Four could have major winds—111 mph plus. The average is 2.
And the most startling prediction: The probability of a major hurricane striking somewhere along the entire U.S coastline stands at 72 percent (average for century is 52 percent).
And to narrow it down, the probability of an East coast strike on our shores stands at 48 percent. The average for the century is 31 percent.
I’m not being an alarmist, just stating the facts. Building structure codes along our coastlines will be changing as our precious coastline shrinks away.
Houses can be re-built, peoples lives cannot.