PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — On average, one to two hurricanes make landfall in the United States each season. The past two seasons resulted in billions of dollars in damage.
New England’s hurricane history has names like Carol, Donna, Gloria, and Bob. The worst storm on record, the unnamed hurricane of 1938.
After Hurricane Carol in 1954 flooded downtown Providence, officials decided to construct the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier in 1960. Since then, a major hurricane category 3 or higher has not hit our area.
While the hurricane season runs from June to the end of November, the most active period is August and September. The remainder of the season is forecasted to be near normal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight will become hurricanes with roughly two to four of those hurricanes being major storms.
Regardless of the numbers, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says we need to be prepared.
“It doesn’t take a lot of storms to be it a busy season that is why preparedness is everything,” Graham said. “It’s getting ready just in case. Don’t worry about the number of storms, just be ready for what could happen.”
Many global factors can influence the hurricane season but by far the biggest one is sea surface temperatures. The Pacific ocean near the equator is in an “El Nino” phase which is when the water is warmer than average.
The warmer seas could influence global or weather circulations across the northern hemisphere which could in-turn dictate how the Atlantic hurricane season will be, in terms of storm frequency, track and strength.
It remains to be seen if the warmer Atlantic waters and the current El Nino in the Pacific will offset each other this season.