NOAA predicts a below-average Atlantic hurricane season for 2023, but it’s always best to be prepared.
Predicting what a hurricane season will deliver can be tricky, but according to Colorado State University (CSU), the first pre-season forecast for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season happily is for a slightly below-average hurricane season. This is because of the development of an atmospheric phenomenon called El Niño that brings cooler and wetter weather to the southern United States and thus dampens storm activity in the Atlantic.
CSU predicts this season will include 13 named storms, six of which will become hurricanes, and two will become major hurricanes, which is Category 3 or higher. On average, a season includes 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
Obviously, predictions are more accurate the closer we get to the start of the season, but several other early season forecasts, including the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (Euro), agree with normal or below-normal storm activity this year, depending largely on whether or not an El Niño will happen.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins in just a few days and runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. Hernando County’s Director of Emergency Management, David M. DeCarlo, said, “We encourage the citizens of Hernando County to start their individual or family preparations now. Make a plan, build a kit, stay informed, and get involved.” DeCarlo further mentioned that locally owned businesses should also begin their preparations and share their emergency business plans with employees.
“Avoid the rush, start now,” DeCarlo added.
Do your homework in advance and check out Hernando County Fire Rescue and Hernando County Government on social media for helpful preparedness themes. For more information, visit www.HernandoCounty.us/EM. Start preparing and make your own personal disaster plan now. Taking a few simple steps today could save lives and prevent suffering later. It is important to know your zone, know your home, know your nearest shelter, and your evacuation route.
You don’t have to travel hundreds of miles. Plan to stay with family or friends until the storm passes. Should you have to evacuate to a shelter, remember, a shelter is a lifeboat, not the love boat. Local shelters are typically schools or community centers that provide a large hardened area inside a sturdy building. They may be crowded, noisy, and uncomfortable, with very little privacy. You’ll get roughly 20 square feet of personal space per person — that’s about 3.5 feet wide and 6 feet long, so staying with friends or family may be a more comfortable alternative.
Only bring your essential personal items with you to a shelter.
Remember that not every shelter takes pets. Remember to bring a crate, vaccination records, a collar with name and contact number, food, and water.
You will be asked to show identification when you arrive. Eat before you arrive, as food may not be immediately available. Plan to be self-sufficient for at least seven days: food, water, and medications are especially important. Shelters may lose electricity, so bring a hand fan or battery-operated fan and a flashlight with batteries. Shelter doors will close when winds reach sustained speeds of 40 mph.
To help you prepare, be sure to visit Hernando County’s Division of Emergency Management Annual Hurricane and Safety Expo. The event will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Challenger K-8 School located at 13400 Elgin Blvd., Spring Hill. Admission and parking is free.
Remember, nothing is ever certain, and every Floridian knows we only need one bad one to wreak havoc. Please prepare for the worst regardless of how much activity is predicted.
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.
Hurricanes are rated according to intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale Categories 1 to 5. A Category 1 hurricane is defined as a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph. A Category 3 or higher is considered a major hurricane.
Storm names for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season:
Why – and how – do hurricanes get names?
Before they started naming storms, hurricane forecasters had to refer to storms by saying something like “the storm 500 miles east-southeast of Miami.” But six hours later, the storm’s position would change.
Also, when more than one storm was going on at the same time, making it clear which storm was being described made the job even harder.
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.
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THE ABCS OF SEVERE WEATHER
To withstand the forces of wind associated with severe weather remember your ABCs:
• ANCHOR ROOF
• BRACE ENTRY & GARAGE DOORS
• COVER WINDOWS
• SAFE ROOM
DO NOT stay in a room which does not have shielded windows/glass doors. Find an interior room— a bathroom, hallway, or closet— which will help buffer you from the storm’s winds and any flying debris. Safe rooms can also be site-built or manufactured, and can be installed in new or existing homes. Make sure all family members know where the safe room is and be sure to take your disaster supplies with you. (Hernando Co. Disaster Planning Guide)