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Countdown To The Season: Hurricane Awareness [Nassau Guardian]
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Posted by:May 24th 2004, 09:31:06 pm
Fig Tree News TeamMonday, May 24, 2004
Busy hurricane season expected

By LaKEISHA McSWEENEY,Guardian Staff Reporter

Bahamians should brace for an upcoming busy Atlantic hurricane season, predicts the Department of Meteorology. The hurricane season, which begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30, forecasts a total of 14 named storms with eight storms expected to reach hurricane intensity.

"Last year was a busy season with 16 so we envision just two below those numbers, but of course those figures can change, but nevertheless we are looking at a busy season," Basil Dean, Chief Met Officer, told The Guardian Friday. He said seven out the 16 storms named last year, became hurricanes.

Mr Dean said that out of the eight tropical storms, three are expected to become major hurricanes or reach a category 3 status. Category 3 storms carry a punch in excess of 111 miles per hour and can cause extensive damage.

Mr Dean explained that on average ten named storms are anticipated during the Atlantic hurricane season, "so right from that you can tell that we are four above normal and this is considered busy."

The number of storms, he said, was primarily influenced by "a sort of neutral stage in respect to El Nino and La Nina." "Usually when you have a full-blown El Nino it intends to be less tropical storm activity," he explained. "During the La Nina stage it is generally when you have an above normal hurricane season," said Dean, "So we are more or less in a transition through from La Nina to El Nino."

Hurricanes are classified in the following five categories:

Category 1 maximum sustained winds of 73-95 mph

Category 2 maximum sustained winds of 96-110 mph

Category 3 maximum sustained winds of 111-130 mph

Category 4 maximum sustained winds of 131-155 mph

Category 5 maximum sustained winds exceeding 155 mph

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