Apr 17th 2015 | Posted in Public Safety by Texas Government Insider

On the heels of an unusually wet, cold and long winter comes a welcomed prediction about the upcoming 2015 hurricane season.

A pair of expert hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University (CSU) has released their prediction for the upcoming 2015 season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. This is the 32nd year that CSU researchers have issued their forecast. Their annual report notes that this year’s hurricane season will be “well below average.” In fact, the pair predicts the upcoming season will be “one of the least active seasons since the middle of the 20th century.”

Government officials and emergency managers are already gearing up for the upcoming season, evidenced by the attendance recently at the National Hurricane Conference held in Austin. Local government officials are preparing campaigns to alert residents of coastal and inland areas that might be affected by a hurricane to begin preparations.

Members of the business community are also preparing. A large portion of the work related to post-hurricane landfall is done by private-sector firms, as local governments do not have the manpower or expertise for some of the cleanup and emergency care needed – from removal of debris to health care and items such as food and water for victims. In many instances of dealing with government officials during the aftermath of a hurricane, vendors have to be registered or pre-certified to do business with the government. Now is the time to start contacting government procurement offices to see what their requirements are of vendors.

The CSU duo of Philip Klotzbach and William Gray have predicted that there will be seven named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season. Three of those storms are expected to become hurricanes and one will likely reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour. That is well below the historical average annual prediction of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. When hurricane season ended last year, there had been eight named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Additionally, the report delineates the probability of major hurricanes making landfall in the United States. They say landfall probability for the entire United States coastline will be 28 percent, well below the 52 percent average for the last century. The probability of landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula, is 15 percent, as is the probability of landfall for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle west toward Brownsville. Both of those figures are about half the percentage of landfall probability predictions in their respective areas over the last century. And, finally, landfall in the Caribbean is predicted at 22 percent, nearly half the average of 42 percent for the last century.

Although this year’s hurricane season is predicted to be below average, Klotzbach reminds residents of coastal areas that an “active” season for them is not the number of hurricanes predicted, but the one that makes landfall in or around their communities. Folks along the East Coast and the Louisiana coast – survivors of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy – can attest to that.

As hurricane season progresses, our experts at SPI will keep track of storm-related news and private-sector work opportunities.