Hurricane Season May Be Mild [AUDIO]
Federal forecasters say the coming Atlantic hurricane season may not be all that bad. But they warn against letting our guard down.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said the hurricane season starting June 1 will be influenced by an El Nino in the Pacific. In terms of number and severity of potential storms, Sullivan said "these ranges are near or below the seasonal averages."
Scientists tell us and El Nino means an increase in so-called, "wind shears" in the tropical Atlantic. Those shears blow the top off of thunderstorms as they develop and prevent them from organizing into bigger systems such as hurricane.
State Climatologist Dave Robinson of Rutgers University says Sandy showed us we cannot become complacent.
"But the odds, if this El Nino continues to develop, the odds would favor less of a chance given that there will be fewer storms out in the Atlantic," Robinson said.
The prediction is eight to 13 tropical storms, three to six hurricanes and maybe one or two major hurricanes, according to forecasters.
Robinson said New Jersey gets 20-plus percent of its average September rainfall from tropical systems. That's not the case every year, however. According to Robinson, that means some hurricanes in New Jersey in the past have been "drought busters" during dry summers in the state.