2012's Atlantic Hurricane Season officially starts today. However, already there have been two named storms. Alberto, which did not impact land directly, and Beryl this past weekend which became a strong Tropical Storm and made landfall in Jacksonville Beach, slowed down and rained more than expected in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
The only other recorded times that there were two named storms before June 1st were in 1887 and 1908. 1887 was fairly active but 1908 wound up being relatively average. The mere fact we had two preseason storms does not mean that this year will necessarily be active, but it does give a better chance to get deep into the alphabet this year.
Beryl made landfall across Jacksonville which hasn't seen a landfall pattern like that in decades.
Florida remains without a direct hurricane landfall since 2005's Wilma. Irene last year was last hurricane to make landfall in the United States, and before that Ike in 2007. Florida's luck has been pretty good (Tropical Storms excluded) so odds are a bit higher this year that Florida may be hit by a hurricane.
The lack of Florida hits is dangerous with the inexperience of many new coastal residents, and apathy toward preparations. Beryl was a strong storm, but did not make it to hurricane force.
Again, be hurricane prepared. Have a plan, at the very least. Know if you are in an evacuation area, and when to leave (and more importantly when not to).
Have some supplies ready if you are in an area that may see hurricanes, and stay informed. Hype is still a large problem with media and storms, and this site still takes the point of view that hurricanes are rare events and that hype is counterproductive, smart monitoring of the basin is more useful.
With the proliferation of social media sites, it's easier for information (and misinformation) to get out. Hype can exist there too. I dislike hurricanes, but still want to learn as much about them as possible. Here you will find discussion and data geared to what is going on, and not toward sensational reporting of the situation.
So Be prepared!
The National Hurricane Center has been and still is the best source for accurate information, this site is a supplement to it from another point of view. There are plenty of other resources on the internet and elsewhere that we recommend looking at as well, but only to gain added insight.
Confirm anything you read or see in multiple places when trying to decide on a plan of action for any particular storm. When a storm gets very close internet sites like this one become much less important than local sources for information.
Also if something does hit and you are ok, take advantage of social sites to let people know the status of yourself and your area so that word can spread since local communications can be strained. (Note if you can't get a call out on strained networks, try to use text or data!)
There haven't been too many changes or additions to flhurricane.com, we still remain to be fairly fast with updates, and have article and blog postings that generally try to stick to facts and limit hype.
The list of names for this year is Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, William
For the first two months of Hurricane season, it is generally slow. Any development usually happens in the Western Caribbean and southern Gulf. Generally toward the second half of July it starts to heat up and things get really going mid August through mid October. This year there is an additional area to watch off the southeast coast, for any stalled out fronts or items that come from the Gulf/Caribbean, similar to where Beryl formed.
Currently in the Atlantic, there is nothing likely to develop soon, longer range (next week and beyond) the Western Caribbean or Southeast Gulf would be the best areas to watch.
As in many years prior Jim Williams at Hurricane City will be doing an 8PM broadcast tonight for the season kickoff.
Mark Sudduth at HurricaneTrack.com has interesting options this year and continues to be a great source of storm information, especially at landfall with his hurricane chasing.
We'll be updating links, some sites such as Stormpulse have converted to a pay model, but we are still sticking with a donation/tip only approach (see the Site Donations and Thanks link) The mods and admins this year are all helping to contribute to updates, and the facebook and twitter feeds will be updated as well. Finally, remember that the Weather Analysts are an excellent source of 'common-sense' calm guidance on any storms that do develop this season.