2011 saw 19 tropical storms between June 1 and November 30, which ties last year for the third-busiest of all time with 1887, 1996, and 2010.
But according to Colorado State forecasters Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, this year could be much calmer. “A warming tropical Pacific and a cooling tropical Atlantic are leading us to think that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity.” The forecasters concluded that “the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are relatively high.”
Max Mayfield, Vice-Chair of the National Hurricane Conference, will tell you not to rely too heavily on predictions, however. “One thing that amazes me at the beginning of each hurricane season is how many people and the media misuse the various hurricane seasonal outlooks,” Max says. “These outlooks only tell you about how many storms and hurricanes we are likely to have in the Atlantic Basin. They do not tell us where or when they will hit. These seasonal outlooks should have absolutely nothing to do with a person’s hurricane preparedness plan. If you live in a hurricane vulnerable location, you should be prepared no matter what the seasonal outlook calls for.”
The lesson here? Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.