Busy hurricane season forecast; uncertainty remains

Published 2:22 pm Thursday, June 1, 2017

Today marks the beginning of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season and forecasters are calling for an above average season.

However, forecaster confidence is not high as there is uncertainty whether an El Nino will develop, Meteorologist Donovan Landreneau with the National Weather Service-Lake Charles said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecasted 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes.

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“Some years, there is higher confidence than others (in the forecast). Unfortunately, this is one of those years with a low confidence on the numbers,” Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist with NWS-Lake Charles, said. “But the reality is this; no matter how many are forecasted, it only takes on local landfall for it to be a significant season for us. Bottom line, stay prepared.”


Being prepared

Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Fountain wants to stress that no matter what the forecast is, people need to be prepared.

“A lot of us are complacent in society. Look at what happened nine years ago with Hurricane Ike, for a lot of people that’s a distant memory. We have to get people to remember every year to check their family plan or put a family plan in place or if you are a business owner, have a business plan in place,” Fountain said. “On a yearly basis people need to check with their insurance and make sure they have the proper insurance so if they do get devastated by a storm, they can recover.”

Many in society have become complacent and tend to rely on the government to help. But, as many have seen, the government can’t do everything, he said.

Planning ahead of a disaster such as a hurricane shouldn’t be difficult.

“If we normally have several days notice of a hurricane, unlike a tornado, you can get prepared and evacuate,” he said. “You wouldn’t wait for the fireman to knock on your smoking door to ask you to leave.”

Evacuation can be a financial burden and families should prioritize ahead of storms.

Those who may need assistance evacuating are asked to call 211 to make those arrangements.

Other helpful sites include:

  • ready.gov
  • setinfo.org
  • www.THESTAN.com (Southeast Texas Alerting Network). You may sign up for mass notification on this site.

“If people review their insurance. Go to ready.gov and put together a plan, those are some of the biggest things they can do,” Fountain said. “It doesn’t have to be 11 to 14 storms or a prediction of this. It takes that one storm, like 25 years ago when Hurricane Andrew struck.”