Forecasters say pace of hurricanes may pick up in 2017

the number of names storms and major hurricanes is upgraded by forecasters

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Emergency planners in Chatham County urge people living near the coast to pay attention to the upgrade by hurricane forecasters for the 2017 season.

It’s likely to get busier before it’s over. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) now says we’re likely to see an above-normal hurricane season this year.

The numbers are being bumped up for named storms, as well as for those that are likely to grow into major hurricanes. Storm Team 3 Meteorologist, Kyle Dennis, explains the annual adjustment.

“At the mid season, when you move into the second half of the season, which is the more active part of the season, you kind of take a step back and look at what has already developed. We’re already up to our G storms, so we’ve already made quite a bit of progress through the alphabet. So we kind of expected to see this upgrade.” Dennis said, adding, ” Typically when the ocean temperature’s at its highest, late in the season, late August, September, the beginning of October, that’s when you get your most activity.” said Dennis.

This upgrade in activity is unwelcome news for all of us on the coast, like Tybee Island resident Edward Brownfield, as he recalls last year’s signal to evacuate due to Hurricane Matthew

“When they call for evacuations or you hear that siren that says you must evacuate, It does make me nervous.” Brownfield said.

Evacuation planning is key to easing nerves according to the Dennis Jones, Director of Chatham County’s Emergency Management Agency. “Prepare your family. Make sure you have a family emergency kit. Also, make sure you have a family communications plan. If you can do those two things, if every resident can do those two simple things, Will be a much more resilient community overall.” said Jones.

NOAA’s update to this hurricane season officially pushes storm predictions to between 14 and 19 named storms. 5 – 9 of the storms will reach hurricane strength, and somewhere between 2 – 5 of those will grow into major hurricanes.

If the updated predictions hold true, 2017 could be the most active Atlantic Hurricane Seasons since 2010.

Jones says lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew last year are being applied to Chatham County right now.

“We have a new evacuation zone that we have created since Matthew. Everything east of the Truman Parkway is one zone, everything from the Truman Parkway to I-95 is a second zone, and then everything west of I-95 is the third zone. So hopefully with those, segregation of those zones we can manage the evacuation process a little bit better, so know your zone.” Jones said.

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