Mild hurricane year anticipated as season kicks off

ATLANTIC OCEAN - SEPTEMBER 14:  In this handout satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Igor gets stronger as it turns west-northwest in the direction of Bermuda September 14, 2010 in the Atlantic Ocean as seen from space. According to the National Hurricane Center Igor is traveling at a speed of 8 MPH, with maximum sustained winds near 145 MPH. It has become the Atlantic season�s most powerful hurricane but forecasters predict it will turn north and bypass the mainland U.S.  (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

Hurricane season officially kicked off on Sunday and while many New Yorkers are still anxious in the lingering aftermath of Sandy, meteorologists are anticipating a relatively mild season.

There is a 50 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic region and a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, according to a report released late last month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA predicts that only one to two major hurricanes will develop in the Atlantic region, which is expansive and includes the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Somewhere between three and six smaller hurricanes are anticipated, along with eight to 13 tropical storms strong enough to merit names.

If predictions are correct and 2014 does indeed prove to be a milder season than usual, it would pick up where 2013 left off. Last year’s season provided a welcome respite after the furor of 2012, with the fewest hurricanes since 1982.

Despite the promising outlook, tristate disaster agencies aren’t taking anything for granted.

The Red Cross took to Twitter to remind residents of northern New Jersey to prepare for any major storms.

“Hard to think #HurricanePrep on this beautiful day, but take 1 easy step 2 prep now,” the agency tweeted, linking to a free hurricane disaster plan.

Follow Emily Johnson on Twitter @emilyjreports


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