To be clear, Sunday was the start of tropical storm season.
The challenges of restoring power outages due to ice and flooding has kept everyone on their toes the last couple of months.
But those events also raise another question: If we’ve had an ice storm and a flood, what will tropical storm season bring?
Predictions are that it will be a slower-than-usual season. That’s because of El Nino, federal forecasters said.
The El Nino, which warms part of the Pacific every few years and changes rain and temperature patterns around the world, will likely reduce the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
Cooler temperatures on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean compared with recent years will also lower the probability of hurricane formation.
Officials expect about eight to 13 named tropical storms and three to six hurricanes. Just one or two major hurricanes with winds over 110 miles per hour are forecast.
But as we all know. It only takes one storm to make a major impact as we learned from Hurricane Ivan 10 years ago.
It’s easy to get complacent. The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the U.S. was when Wilma came ashore in 2005, a nine-year stretch that is the longest on record.
Sharon Pinkerton, who heads the Company Emergency Management Center when storms approach, said the ice storm and the flood event allowed them to tweak storm restoration procedures.
“We found things that we can improve upon,” she said. “Both events were a couple of early tests.”
Pinkerton said it’s important for employees to go over their storm duties, as well as pre-storm preparation for their families and homes. More than half of the employees at Gulf Power have not experienced a tropical storm restoration process.
“It’s always, ‘Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,’ “ she said. “We’re ready for storm season.”
2014 Atlantic tropical storm names: