The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than normal with 13 to 17 tropical storms, and as many as ten of them could become hurricanes, the U.S. government’s top climate agency predicted on May 22nd, a few days before the official start of the hurricane season, which typically peaks between August 1 and late October. Of the forecast, three to five hurricanes might be major ones of Category 3 or higher with winds over 110 mph (177 km).
An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 11 tropical storms, of which six reach hurricane wind speed of 74 mph (119 km), including two major hurricanes, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Forecasters had expected an active 2006 season, but only 10 storms formed.
Earlier forecasts for the 2007 season also predicted the return of an active pattern after last season when no major hurricanes hit our region.
Almost as if to underscore those early forecasts, a subtropical storm formed off the southeast US coast and became Andrea, the first named storm of the year, which eroded Central Florida’s beaches around the 13th of May, well before the June 1 official beginning of the hurricane season.
Hurricane season officially ends November 30, but the strange season of 2005 ran over into late December and used up all the planned alphabetical names, forcing storm watchers to switch to the Greek alphabet to continue naming storms. That year’s season generated 28 tropical storms, of which 15 became hurricanes, including Katrina which devastated New Orleans and coastal Mississippi.
With expectations for another active season, it is critically important that people who live in East and Gulf coastal areas as well as the Caribbean be prepared. In St. Maarten Governor Richards called on community to prepare well for 2007 hurricane season. “We have already had a wake-up call with the formation of the first named storm of the season in May…as a community we must plan early—and don’t wait until the last moment to rush to get things done because it can result in injury,” Richards said.
Preparations that should be done now are the removal of debris from around homes and businesses, checking hurricane shutters to make sure windows can close securely, and inspecting roofs to be sure there are no weak spots.
Putting together a hurricane disaster kit is also another essential part of preparing early as well as stockpiling non-perishables. As hurricane specialist of the U.S. National Hurricane Center Dr. Lixion Avila stated in his presentation in Curacao at the 29th session of the Hurricane Committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO): “I don’t know how many storms will mark this season, but… we MUST be prepared!”
2007 Atlantic Storm Names
Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dean, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, Wendy
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. Originally, only women’s names were used but in 1979, men’s names were introduced to alternate with the women’s names. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2006 list will be used again in 2012. If a storm is unusually deadly or costly, a committee from the WMO strikes the offending name from the list and selects another to replace it. In 2005, the WMO retired Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma.