2018 Predictions Point To An Active Storm Year
Hurricanes are considered to be Earth’s most violent storms. They begin as tropical cyclones and are upgraded to tropical storm status once their winds reach speeds between 39 and 73 mph. This is also the level of storm activity that receives a name to identify it. Should that tropical storm increase to speeds of 74 to 95 mph hour, it becomes classified as a Category 1 hurricane.
Using the Saffir-Simpson scale, hurricanes are measured up to a category 5 storm. Each level is related to wind speed which hints at the damage that it may cause. The categories are as follows:
Category 1 – 74 to 95 mph
A storm with these wind speeds will cause minimal damage such as breaking tree branches and uprooting trees with shallow roots. Homes may sustain damage to gutters and possible roof leakage.
Category 2 – 96 to 110 mph
Expect moderate damage with larger trees being uprooted and possibly toppled power lines. Homes will likely experience major damage to siding and roofs.
Category 3 – 111 to 129 mph
This would be a storm that would result in devastating damage. Many trees will be uprooted damaging power lines in a wider area. Homes could receive damage to decks and gables.
Category 4 – 130 to 156 mph
A storm of this size will leave behind catastrophic damage. Trees will be snapped, power outages may last for weeks and months leaving areas uninhabitable for that length of time. Homes will receive roof and exterior wall destruction.
Category 5 – 157 mph or higher
Storms in this category would cause massive damage where a high percentage of framed homes would be completely destroyed. Power outages would cover huge areas and remain out for months or more.
The 2018 Hurricane Season
The Pacific hurricane season started May 15th and the Atlantic season starts June 1st. The typical peak season for storm activity is between August and October. Both seasons end on November 30 although it is not unusual for tropical storms to form outside of those dates. The weather in summer impacts the number of storms that develop and predictions are for a busy 2018.
Scientists at Colorado State University expect the Atlantic season to be slightly above average with 14 named storms with about half of those growing to become hurricanes. The researchers have also predicted that three of the storms will result in major hurricanes of category 3 to 5 in strength. Other predictions from weather officials have also indicated much the same.
The NOAA released their hurricane forecast last week. It predicts a slightly more active season with between 10 and 16 tropical storms developing. They suggest a 75% chance of the season falling between above normal and near normal numbers. The NOAA expects between 5 and 9 storms to reach hurricane status with another 1 to 4 of them classified as major hurricanes.
A Short Review of 2017
There were a total of 17 named storms last year making it an extremely active season. A total of ten of those storms became hurricanes and six of those reached major status. The 2017 season also saw several devastating hurricanes reach land and result in massive destruction. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Irma was in the US southeast and Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding with heavy rainfall which killed at least 60 people and resulted in billions of dollars in damages. Hurricane Irma destroyed the island of Barbuda, caused massive flooding in Florida as well as widespread power outages. She also killed at least 69 people and left behind billions of dollars in damage in the southern US alone.
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