So here we are. It's June 1st and the 2006 Hurricane Season begins today. No doubt the news stations will be making a big deal of this date and the impending disasters for 2006 by comparing this season to last year. In my opinion each Hurricane season makes its own mark on us and we really can't tie them together.
It seems just like yesterday we were watching Katrina, Rita, and Wilma play out on TV. All 3 storms has very compelling images tied to them. Katrina with the humanitarian crisis in New Orleans and total devastation of the city after the levee failure. Rita with the amazing evacuation scenes coming out of Houston. Finally, Wilma making #1 on the all time strength list, then sitting on top of Cancun for days.
The professionals have updated their forecast. Dr. Gray has released the May Update and he is now calling for 17 Storms, 9 Hurricanes and 5 Major Hurricanes. Joe Bastardi continues to call for a major Hurricane to hit the Carolinas and Northeast this year, thus keeping with his image as the top doom and gloom forecaster out there. Love him or hate him, he is entertaining.
Tonight, Jim Williams will be holding his Hurricane Season kickoff show. Jim has proven himself to be very accurate in making his picks for top locations to be hit by hurricanes, hitting 4 0f his top 5 cities the last few years. His statistical methods for making these predictions have proven to be accurate so far. Check him out tonight, I'm sure it will be a great show.
My predictions for this season are that this hurricane season will not start off quite as quickly as last year (we already had our first tropical system by now). The strong Bermuda High that has been affecting the past 2 Hurricane Seasons is still in place. The location of this High Pressure is always a huge factor in determining whether storms move more South and West and affect Florida and the Gulf Coast, or if they are allowed to turn more North along the coast and affect the Carolinas and Northeast. We will be watching this very closely as the season heats up.
My numbers for this year are for there to be 18 Tropical Storms, 11 Hurricanes and 4 Major Hurricanes. My top locations for a hit this season are Wilmington, NC, Fort Myers, FL, Pensacola, FL and Brownsville, TX. Please note that these are more or less guesses on my part and I am not a Meteorologist. The only thing any of us can do is prepare now, track these storms and evacuate if they come our way.
Below is an image I snapped at the RDU Airport after landing on a trip home from Philadelphia.