This Year’s “Near-Normal” Hurricane Season Could Still Be Devastating

Scientists expect as many as four major storms in the next few months.

A Florida couple stands in the ruins of their home after Hurricane Michael in October 2018.Scott Olson/Getty

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Today marks the official start of the 2019 hurricane season. While experts predict it will be a “near-normal” season in the Atlantic Ocean, it still could wreak havoc.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center expects as many as 15 named storms and 2 to 4 major hurricanes this season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. An average season has three major hurricanes classified as category 3, 4, or 5 storms. Overall, NOAA predicts there will be a 40 percent chance of a “near-normal” season.

The ongoing El Niño is expected to suppress the intensity of this hurricane season, according to NOAA. However, unusually warm sea-surface temperatures in the Caribbean combined with an enhanced West African monsoon are expected to increase hurricane activity.

Last year’s hurricane season was the third consecutive year with above-average number of damaging hurricanes. In 2017, record-breaking hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the parts of southeastern United States and Puerto Rico respectively.

Climate experts have said that global warming will cause more extreme weather events and will likely make hurricanes more intense

The Trump administration has been criticized for falling short on its emergency response after Maria hit Puerto Rico, killing more than 2,500 people. A year and a half later, residents are still waiting for funds to rebuild the island. President Donald Trump’s feud with Puerto Rican government officials continues as hurricane season starts. 

For the fifth year in a row, a tropical cyclone broke before the start of the season. On May 20, subtropical storm Andrea hit east of the Bahamas. 

NOAA also forecasts that the Pacific has a 70 percent chance for an above-normal season. The agency is expecting at least 15 to 22 named storms, of which 8 to 13 are expected to become hurricanes.

NOAA

 

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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