The project, which comes out each year with a forecast from its hurricane experts Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, says there will be nine tropical storms during the coming hurricane season but that only two of those will develop into hurricanes.
On its face, that is some welcome news. No one here wants to see the disruption, devastation, danger and even death a big storm can cause.
We have seen far too many in recent years, and we’re in no hurry to see another.
However, there are some drawbacks to the prediction.
First and foremost, it takes just one hurricane to turn an otherwise uneventful year into one of challenge and turmoil.
We have numerous recent examples of what even a glancing storm can do to us.
Second, the experts don’t have a great track record over the past several years.
In 2012, they predicted a relatively slow year and more than twice the number of storms they predicted actually formed.
In 2013, the opposite occurred. They predicted nine hurricanes, but there were just two.
Whatever the forecast, though, and whatever eventually happens in any given year, this is a timely reminder that hurricane season is coming. It runs June 1 to Nov. 30 each year. While we can certainly experience extreme weather at other times of the year, that is the most likely window for tropical storms to develop.
It is also a timely reminder that we are all best served by careful preparation and thoughtful planning.
No one can control whether a storm develops this year or whether it comes this way. What we can all do, though, is have a good plan to keep ourselves and our families as safe as possible in the event of a storm.
Talk it over with your family and friends. Decide now what you will do if a storm threatens. Will you evacuate? If so, where will you go? Do you have a place to stay to the north or to the east or west — a place where the family can head to get out of harm’s way? If so, make sure you communicate that plan to everyone who will play a part.
Don’t forget about relatives who might need assistance in evacuating. And don’t forget about pets that will have to be kept safe and fed.
Get supplies together now so you won’t have to add to your own pressure and stress if a storm enters the Gulf.
No one knows what this or any other year will hold. But we all know that we’re better off thinking ahead. If these predictions get us doing that, they are well worth the attention they get.