The National Hurricane Center has released its hurricane forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1st.  There's a sliver of good news in this forecast, because the experts are expecting fewer storms than we've seen in recent years.



The NHC says we will see 9 to 15 named storms,  4 to 8 of which will become hurricanes.  Of those storms that grow into hurricanes, NHC is predicting 1 to 3 of them will be major hurricanes, Category 3 or above.

Lead hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell says we can thank an expected El Niño for this optimistic prediction. El Niño is the cyclical warming of the waters in the central Pacific that affects climate on a global scale.  Bell says "El Niño tends to increase the wind shear, and that tends to suppress or kill off hurricanes ... So if El Niño forms, that would be a limiting factor to the season's strength."

Something to hope for.

Despite the quieter forecast, we can't be complacent just because we live more than a hundred miles inland. In 2008, Hurricane Ike came ashore at Galveston and moved into East Texas. It caused $30 billion dollars in damage in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and killed 112 people.  23 people are still missing.

The bottom line:  no matter how many storms the experts are predicting, a few or a lot, it only takes one hurricane to destroy your community and change your life forever.

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