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Researchers predict ‘slightly above average’ 2018 hurricane season

Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer
It may seem hard to believe, but the 2018 hurricane season is already on the radar.
Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a slightly above-average Atlantic season this year, according to a new release.
Scientists are citing the relatively low likelihood of a significant El Niño as a primary factor.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project is predicting 14 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Of those, researchers expect seven to become hurricanes and three to reach major hurricane strength of a Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
So far, the 2018 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1960, 1967, 1996, 2006 and 2011.
The team predicts that 2018 hurricane activity will be about 135 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2017’s hurricane activity was about 245 percent of the average season.
The group estimates a 39 percent chance that a hurricane will make landfall somewhere on the East Coast. For perspective, the average for the last century is 31 percent.
Osceola County Emergency Management is the department in charge of keeping local people and property safe when a crisis occurs.
Operations Manager Richard Halquist said Emergency Management is busy prepping for the upcoming hurricane season, now less than eight weeks away.
This will mark Halquist’s 14th hurricane season with Emergency Management, and during that time, he said he’s learned the importance of being prepared. 
“It only takes one,” he said. “Irma proved that for us last year.”
Halquist said he’s proud of the collective, collaborative effort between agencies and private partners in the wake of Hurricane Irma. He thinks that residents who remain resilient, self-reliant and informed will fare the best if any hurricanes or other tropical systems make their way to Florida this year.
Emergency Management has upgraded its regional electronic system to make coordinating efforts and sharing information easier.
Halquist said the county was using the electronic system, known as WebEOC last year. But the new enhancements will make it more efficient to track incoming calls and emails from the public, connect with partners and attach resource request forms to guarantee that residents are getting the help they need after a storm.
“We can reach out beyond our own internal resources now,” Halquist said. “It’s going to help us stay better connected.”