The chances for a tropical storm or hurricane striking Virginia and the remainder of the East Coast has just increased. In May, the government’s climate prediction center said this season had a 30 percent chance for above-normal activity in these parts. But now the center’s lead forecaster, Dr. Gerry Bell, said that has changed.
“Current and predicted oceanic and atmospheric conditions now indicate a higher likelihood — a 45 percent chance — of an abovenormal hurricane season and a reduced likelihood — a 20 percent chance — of below-normal activity,” Bell explained.
He’s forecasting 10 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine could be hurricanes, and two to four could be major hurricanes. “On top of that, some of those named hurricanes and major hurricanes could be longer and stronger than predicted in May,” Bell said. Atmospheric wind patterns are expected to be more hospitable to storm formation.
“It’s really important that commercial buildings, farms and homes are able to withstand storms,” said Scott DeNoon, farm product and underwriting manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.