hurricane wednesday

Water flows onto the pavement from Overlook Park next to Marshside Grill on US 17 during high tide. There was minor flooding around the Golden Isles as the effects from Hurricane Dorian began to be felt in September 2019.

When virus season ends, prepare to hold onto your hats.

It’s shaping up to be another active hurricane season, AccuWeather is predicting.

For the 2020 hurricane season, AccuWeather is forecasting 14 to 18 tropical storms in the Atlantic, seven to nine of which will develop into hurricanes. Two to four of them will intensify into major cyclones, its meteorologists are predicting

The season starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

Hurricanes have maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.

“It’s going to be an above-normal season,” said Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather’s leading hurricane expert. “On a normal year, we have around 12 storms, six hurricanes and roughly three major hurricanes.”

If the season goes as predicted, it will be the fifth consecutive year of above-average activity, AccuWeather notes. Last year generated 18 storms, including hurricanes Dorian, Lorenzo and Humberto, as well as Tropical Storm Imelda. Together they inflicted more than $11 billion in damages on coastal communities.

The forecast by AccuWeather meteorologists is based on comparisons of previous years with similar weather conditions, or analog years.

“There are a number of analog years we looked at that certainly show high-impact storms affecting the United States,” Kottlowski said.

If forecasters are right, the nation will find itself bracing for two to four impacts this year.

“These could be direct hits or a storm scraping the coast but still causing impacts,” Kottlowski said.

Brunswick and the Golden Isles know firsthand about hurricane scrapings. Close calls have prompted mandatory evacuations and caused millions of dollars in wind and flood damage in recent years across the Isles.

The Glynn County Emergency Management Agency is not overly focused on number predictions. So says Alec Eaton, a Homeland Security specialist who’s taking on more responsibilities at EMA while director Jay Wiggins continues to serve as interim chief of the Glynn County Police Department.

“While (forecasters) may increase or decrease the numbers for the season, our focus only remains on the one that impacts our community,” Eaton said. “Even now, during this COVID-19 disaster, we are planning and preparing for the upcoming hurricane season as well.”

The National Hurricane Center has been predicting the same increases the past few years, Eaton said.

“We want to make sure our community is prepared for the next storm that decides to visit our shores,” he said. “Over the past five years, we have seen various impacts from different storms, Hermine to Matthew to Irma to Dorian. Each storm has brought us different lessons and has prepared us to give a better response for the future storm that impacts us directly. Our community has strengthened in its response as well.”

As it usually does, the National Hurricane Center has already prepared a list of names for this year’s storms. In alphabetical order, they include Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias and Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally and Teddy.

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