After a harsh winter of crippling blizzards and bitter cold, forecasters are predicting an active hurricane season across the East End.
AccuWeather forecasters predicted 15 named tropical storms this season, which kicks off June 1 — five more than the annual average of 10 — and said at least three major hurricanes would slam into the United States.
“Long Island is the third most vulnerable hurricane area, only behind New Orleans, and Florida,” said Suffolk County Community College physical sciences professor Scott A. Mandia.
Not only could a hurricane wash away boardwalks and beachfront property, Mandia said it could block 2.8 million people from safety. “Evacuating Long Island would be impossible, because we have a lot of people that would have to take bridges and tunnels to get off the island, and those structures would be impassable.”
The area’s warmer ocean water would fuel a hurricane, Mandia added — and it’s also the reason Long Island has experienced more flooding lately.
AccuWeather meteorologist Henry Margusity said a recent storm cycle of tsunamis, tornadoes and flooding will not end soon. “A severe weather season typically translates into a bad hurricane season.”
What does an active hurricane season mean for LI?
Margusity predicted that a Category 3 hurricane would hit Long Island. “The eastern half of Long Island is particularly vulnerable because it sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. … It would completely destroy a seaside town. … You won’t be immune to damage if you live inland because of crosswinds that could easily top 100 [mph], which means most rooftops would be gone,” he said.