2005 East Coast Hurricane Season Officially Begins

Tropics officially kick in today

June 1 is like Thanksgiving for East Coasters. The day we can officially say the surfing holiday season begins, a time when we hope for the best — like getting piles of perfectly sized tropical presents swelling with potential — and fear for the worst — such as last year's quadruple whammy of landstrikes that still has Florida screaming "bah humbug."

Unfortunately, the very nature of tropical systems makes them unpredictable in terms of if, when and where they will hit, but there are still ways to gauge just how active a season may be and the probability of landstrikes. And over the past 10 years – ever since 1995's record season of 19 named storms – the key phrase has been "heightened activity." As trumpeted by leading hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray of {{{Colorado}}} State University (and echoed by would-be plywood and battery providers such as Home Depot and Lowes), the combination of increasing global temperatures and larger coastal populations, is a recipe for disaster – literally—and he urges to take the months from here to November 30 very seriously.

So what's Gray's take on 2005. Well, according to his most recent update dated May 32, 2005 we're looking at a total of 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes – four of which would be "intense" Category 3 storms or above – with a 59% chance of one "intense" storm striking the East Coast. That would mean a slight increase over last year's 14 named storms and 9 hurricanes. But frankly, since it's statistically impossible to nail a tropical prediction, his updates aren't so much a matter of specific numbers as serving a general purpose: keeping all coastal residents aware that the season is upon us, encouraging everyone to prepare now instead of waiting until the last minute, and reminding the rare percentage of us who actually welcome the hurricanes and tropical storms one last time —be careful what you wish for.