South Louisiana barely had time for its breath. We are back.
Warnings are growing that the state could soon be in for Another rough rideThis hurricane season. One weather expert says that factors such as extremely warm waters could result in another above-average storm season, perhaps even similar to 2005’s conditions that caused hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
Forecasters don’t want panicking, but awareness and preparation will be crucial as in any season.
According to Dan Kottlowski of AccuWeather (a commercial weather forecasting service), this year’s weather pattern is very similar with last year and 2020.
He stated that the threat of a direct impact this year, in the southeast Louisiana coast, is greater than usual.
South Louisiana residents don’t need to be reminded of the dangers that lie ahead. The last two years have seen Louisiana experience two of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall.
In 2020, Hurricane Laura devastated southwest Louisiana, causing damage of $17.5 billion. Hurricane Ida also hit the states southeast last year, causing $55 Billion in estimated damage.
Both storms were Category-4 storms with 150-mph winds. Both were Category 4 storms with 150-mph winds. A slight shiftThey are their paths.
Any further hurricane would be devastating for communities still in recovery. More than 9,000 households live in mobile homes and post-storm trailers provided by FEMA or the state.
Casey Tingle is the head of Governors Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. He said that forecasts don’t change the state’s ability to prepare for any outcome. The state must remind residents who live in temporary, fragile housing to take extra precautions to weather the storm. However, the destruction of the past few years has complicated those efforts.
Tingle said that one thing that is likely to give us concern that we wouldn’t normally have the need to address is the vulnerability that many of our communities are still experiencing from the aftermath of the storms of 2020, and Hurricane Ida in 2021.
That vulnerability combined with the recent strong storms have created some challenges that need us to do more work in terms on what preparedness looks and feels like.
Tingle’s office advises residents to have a plan prepared as well as at least three days’ worth of supplies. Advice can be found at the state’s getagameplan.org website.
Are supercharged storms possible?
On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its closely-watched outlook for the Atlantic hurricane seasons, which starts June 1 and ends November 30. This is a major indicator.
Several independent outlooks have already indicated the possibility for higher-than-normal storm activity.
AccuWeathers predicts 16 to 20 named hurricanes. This includes three to five major hurricanes or Category 3 and higher. This is higher than the 30-year average of 14 named tropical storms per annum and three major hurricanes.
The April predictions of Colorado State University are similar. The researchers predicted 19 named storms and 4 major hurricanes this season. A second forecast is expected to be released in early June.
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University of Arizona forecasters predict an above-average season, but less than in recent seasons. They predict 14 named hurricanes and three major storms.
They compare the above-average numbers to the median for 1980, which is 13 named storms, and two major hurricanes. They will also issue an updated forecast in June.
Although Xubin Zeng, an Arizona professor, said he wasn’t expecting a super-active year, he expressed concern that the Gulf could create a similar situation to 2021.
One weather expert has made waves with a particularly scary comparison for south Louisiana. Nick Shay, University of Miami, stated that one factor is important. Similar to 2005, the Year of Katrina und Rita.
Shay wrote in The Conversation, an organization that publishes articles from experts, that the Loop Current, the current of warm waters that flows in from the Caribbean, is unusually deep into the Gulf at this time.
The warm waters of the Loop Current can give strength to storms. Shay claims it can boost hurricanes.
He wrote that I have been monitoring the ocean heat content for over 30 years as a marine scientist. I am concerned about the conditions I see in the Gulf in May 2022.
Kottlowski said, however that the Loop Current can shift and that it could look differently depending on the season.
Officials warn that preparation is crucial and should be done early.
However, recent trends cannot be denied. Ken Graham, head of the National Hurricane Center says that in 2017-2021, more Category 4 and 5 storms made landfall in the United States than it did in 1963-2016.
According to the Hurricane Center the last year was the third-most active season with 21 named thunderstorms. It was just behind the 2020, 2005 and 2020 seasons.
Climate change is increasing the likelihood for extreme weather and intensifying storms. It is expected to become a more significant factor in the future.
According toAccuWeathers, Louisiana is not at higher risk than other states on the 1,700-mile U.S. Gulf Coast. However, an additional factor may be at work is that more storms have been hitting Louisiana in recent years, increasing the chances that their paths will coincide with a Bermuda-Azores high tension center that could direct them in the state’s direction.
Forecasters look at key areas with above-normal temperatures and weather patterns in the Pacific to determine this years predictions. Kottlowski said that the Pacific this year has a La Nina-type pattern. This basically means that less wind is needed to shear through tropical formations in Atlantic and weaken their development.
Despite this, Louisiana has a long history of hurricane response and preparation, and hopes to draw on that experience.
Tingle advised that preparation is key and that supplies should be moved to the right place in sufficient time. He advised that those who are still living in trailers provided by the state shouldn’t try to take the structures with him when they move.
Residents should also have an idea about where they want to go, and communicate that plan with loved ones.
Tingle stated that we want the public to be informed and to have a way of contacting their local officials. That’s where the best information will come from.