Hurricane Season Affected By El Nino

Hurricane season is a little more than a month away, and more forecasts are coming out about what we might be able to expect this year. Weather experts are predicting a normal season.

A normal season doesn't necessarily mean a quiet season. AccuWeather released its forecast, predicting 12 tropical storms and five hurricanes this year.

Lead Hurricane Forecaster Dan Kottlowski says 2011 was an above average year, with 19 named storms and seven turning into hurricanes.

"So basically we're looking at number wise, lower than the last couple of years, but that doesn't mean that people should let their guard down. Because even though statistically wise if you have a greater number of tropical and hurricanes affecting the Atlantic basin, your chances of getting hit are higher. However, that doesn't mean that the chance of you getting hit is low."

Kottlowski says weather patterns are changing this year. For the past two years, we've been in a la nina pattern and the storms have mostly bypassed Houston.

But el nino is moving in this year and he says that could shake things up.

"In the immediate Houston area, we have really not been bothered by anything tropically over the last two years directly. So because the patterns are changing, we may see some areas that were not affected in the last couple years -- the odds may be a little bit higher that you may be affected this year. But again, this far out it's very, very difficult to say exactly where storms are going to form."

But he adds, the general unpredictability of hurricane season means people in coastal areas should always be prepared for a storm.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...