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Sun Times Feature Story

U.S. 1 Sheds 'Shady' Reputation?

New Projects & City Ordinances Have Started To Clean Things Up - Greatly!

By Larry Blustein
When it comes to hurricane season - or even looking ahead to it, especially after last year, everyone is certainly listening.

Last week, as they do every year, the storm forecasters at Colorado State - of all places - came out with its early forecast for the upcoming season - and while it isn’t time to be concerned - everyone who went through the 2017 season - should be listening.

With things getting cranked up in less that two months on June 1, the 2017 season reminded all of us how powerful and destructive these monster storms can be.

“This is my fifth year in Florida after living my entire life in New York, Craig Alvin said. “We bought a house here in Hollywood last year - in July - and by September we had a hurricane on our doorstep. I know we didn’t get anywhere near what it could have been, but it was still a wakeup call.”

If you believe in the forecasts, which many feel is a “shot in the dark” - and there is simply no way to predict weather patterns 10 months in advance, expect a slightly above-average season, with 14 named storms. Seven of those are expected to become hurricanes and three are expected to be major hurricanes.

While the forecast is quieter than 2017, which had 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and six major storms, respectively, the best rule of thumb is to always be prepared.

“I am certainly not an expert,” Lee Smith of North Miami Beach explained. “But I read that last season had near-record warm sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, which is truly a recipe for something not good.”

Although hurricane season in the Atlantic starts June 1, the majority of storms occur between mid-August and mid-October, meaning this prediction is coming four months before the bulk of hurricane activity - which has many feeling that it’s better to just live through the season instead of anticipating what will happen.

“I have enough to worry about - without adding something to my list that is only a prediction,” Smith said. “We are just in April, so thinking about it now is not going to benefit anyone.”

El Niño and La Niña are common meteorological terms that we expect to hear for seasonal hurricane forecasts -- and with good reason. A strong El Niño or La Niña has a significant impact on hurricane development.

El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon characterized by warmer than normal water in the eastern Pacific equatorial region. While El Niño occurs in the Pacific Ocean, it has widespread impacts on the global climate. One of the elements is increased wind shear across the tropical Atlantic, which creates hostile conditions for hurricane development.

La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, characterized by cooler water in the eastern Pacific equatorial region. When La Niña is present, conditions tend to be more favorable for hurricane development in the Atlantic.

These are the names of tropical storms or hurricanes that may form in the Atlantic Ocean in 2018: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.