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Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV/KSVT-TV) Southern Idaho is not a region that concerns itself with tropical storms making landfall, however when a tropical storm does make landfall its effects can be felt across the nation.
Hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin officially started on June 1 and will go through November 30. Although these dates are when we usually see a tropical system spin up, there have been occasions when a hurricane has formed outside of this date range. Also every year a list of names is produced that tropical systems will be called by.
We all know the infamous hurricanes by their names but many don’t know why tropical systems are named. The naming system is in place to make it easier to keep track of theses storms for record keeping purposes and also keep the public informed. For example would you be more aware of storm if a meteorologist said on air “a low pressure system in the Atlantic Ocean” or “Hurricane Jack in the Atlantic Ocean”.
This naming system helps gives storms character, a personality to their catastrophic potential, and makes the public more informed of what is going on in the ocean. They go in alphabetical order and alternate between male and female names. If a hurricane makes landfall and is catastrophically destructive its name will be forever retired.
We will never have another hurricane named Andrew or Katrina since they were so notable. However, if the hurricane is a fish storm (storm that does not make landfall and just stays in the ocean) its name will be used every six years.
List of Tropical Storm Names for the Next Six Years (Credit NHC)
At the start of every hurricane season, meteorologist associated with varying groups produce their own hurricane prediction of what the outlook for the season will look like. They do this by examining long term forecasting tools and other factors. After a forecasting group examines all the data and information that they find just, they will come up with the number of tropical storms that they think will form this year and also how many major hurricanes there will be (category 3 or higher).
Classification for Hurricanes (Credit http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/156717/)
One popular and reputable source for the hurricane season outlook is the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This year they are calling for a near to below normal season, with 8-13 named storms (systems that have winds speeds at least 39 mph), 3-6 hurricanes, and 1-2 major hurricanes(wind speeds at least 111 mph).
2014 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook Summary (Credit NOAA)
For this year, most forecasters agree that the outlook this season will be a below normal year for hurricane development. These are just long term forecast however. The past few years most forecast haven’t been spot on. Even though the forecast is calling for a slower hurricane season does not mean that people along the Atlantic coast and Gulf coast should let their guard down! It only takes one hurricane to destroy cities and take lives.