Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Here We Go Again

Today’s the official first day of the 2005 hurricane season. It runs until the end of November. It got off to a rolicking start with a heavy thunderstorm over my house at 4:15 a.m. today.

They’re telling us this year won’t be as bad as last year. Yeah, well, I should hope not, with four making landfall in Florida.

“It’s looking like it might be an in-between year,” said Jim Lushine, the National Weather Service’s severe weather expert for South Florida. “There will be threats, actual threats, but whether they materialize — we won’t know that until a few days before the fact.”

What is known is that the hurricane production factories in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico are expected to work overtime this year — just as they have during nearly every year since 1995.

Government researchers are predicting 12 to 15 tropical storms that grow into seven to nine hurricanes. Three to five of those hurricanes are likely to become intense, with winds above 110 mph.

Private researcher Bill Gray issued an updated forecast Tuesday that predicts 15 tropical storms that become eight hurricanes, four of them intense.

Last year, 15 named storms became nine hurricanes, six of them intense.

“Here we go again,” said retired Brig. Gen. David Johnson, director of the National Weather Service.

It’s the price we pay for not having to shovel fourteen feet of snow every winter.