Preparing for the Storm – Hurricane Season Begins Today

Satellite image of hurricane KatrinaToday marks the beginning of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season. The season extends from June 1 to November 30, though the peak of the season occurs between August and October. The first named storm of the season, Alberto, already occurred this last Memorial Day weekend in advance of the official start of the season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is predicting a 75% chance this season will be near or above average.  This prediction includes the possibility of 10-16 named storms (average wind speeds 39+ mph), of which 5-9 may develop into hurricanes (average windspeeds 74+ mph). In an average season, 12 storms occur, 6 become hurricanes and 3 are considered major hurricanes (average windspeeds 111+ mph).  NOAA predicts that 1-4 hurricanes this season will be major.

Since 1995, hurricanes in the Atlantic have been increasing in strength and the season has grown longer. Factors that affect hurricane development and intensity include ocean surface temperatures and wind. El Niño conditions in the Pacific have a suppressive effect on Atlantic hurricanes. NOAA anticipates the absence of El Niño conditions as a factor in predicting above average conditions this coming season.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] cautions individuals living in hurricane zones to be adequately prepared for hurricanes:

Planning and preparing can make a big difference in safety and resiliency in the wake of a hurricane. The ability to quickly recover following a hurricane requires a focus on preparedness, advance planning, and knowing what to do in the event of a hurricane.

FEMA released a current version of their informational report, How to Prepare for a Hurricane, which can be found in the Homeland Security and Defense Library (HSDL). The HSDL collects reports and documents on hurricanes and hurricane preparedness, located in our Featured Topics on Hurricanes.

Current information regarding hurricanes, including images and data, can be found at the NASA Hurricane and Tropical Storm website as well as the National Weather Service National Hurricane Service website. also features a website with hurricane preparedness information.

Need help finding more information on hurricanes?  Ask one of our librarians for assistance!

Please note: HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.