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Jun 1, 2018

Why we can’t predict how destructive a hurricane season will be

<em>Hurricane Irma as it moves towards Florida on September 07th, 2017.</em>

Hurricane season begins today in the Atlantic, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that there will be up to nine hurricanes, including one to four major storms with winds blowing at 111 mph (about 178 km/h) and up. How many of these hurricanes will make landfall, though? This far in advance, it’s impossible to say. The only thing to do is to prepare the best you can for a hurricane strike — whether or not it’ll happen.

“Whether we predict five to nine hurricanes and all of a sudden you wind up with 10, that’s not important at this stage,” says Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Even though we can’t predict exactly who’s going to get struck,...

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