Forecasters are predicting the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will be below normal, but officials urged coastal residents to remain prepared for a storm, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Wednesday.
There’s a 70-percent likelihood of between six and 11 named storms with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher, three to six of which could become hurricanes with at least 74 mph winds and two potentially growing into major hurricanes reaching wind speeds of more than 111 mph, NOAA officials said.
“Now is the time to start planning before hurricane season starts,” Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator, told reporters during a news conference in New Orleans.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and peaks between late August and early September. Sullivan warned that even if the seasonal outlook is below normal, the tropical cyclones that do form will be just as dangerous. The long-term forecast does not predict where exactly the storms may reach landfall.
NOAA officials also used the announcement to reminded the public of how to prepare for a storm. Such tactics include stocking enough food and water to last at least 72 hours, discuss a backup plan and meeting places with family, keep important papers in a safe place, avoiding floodwaters and checking on the elderly as well of those with special needs.
The biggest reminder is that it’s neither the winds nor rain, but the storm surge associated with hurricanes that can prove most destructive and deadly. Attesting to that was New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, which still has areas recovering from Hurricane Katrina—the costliest in American history, with Sandy ranking second costliest.
“We hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” he said.