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Central Gulf Coast Could Be Target for Hurricane This Season

Expert: Higher chance of a hurricane making landfall based on historical comparisons.

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A local hurricane expert agrees with a government prediction of less big storm activity this season, but thinks parts of the Gulf Coast might actually be in for a slightly higher threat.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center expects a near-normal or below normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 8-13 named storms and one to two major hurricanes.

The prediction comes after historically low storm activity last season, with only two hurricanes, both only category one storms that didn’t make landfall.

But Chris Hebert, a hurricane expert with Houston-based Impact Weather, thinks there are some indications, based on historical comparisons, that the central Gulf Coast could be a target.  

“When we look back into the past to see what’s similar to what we’re seeing right now, we see years like 1957, in which category 4 Audrey formed quickly in the Gulf and struck southwest Louisiana as a category 3 hurricane in June,” Hebert said. “In 1965, Betsy crossed southern Florida and slammed into southeast Louisiana, flooding New Orleans.” 

Hebert agrees with NOAA’s assessment that we’ll likely see fewer overall storms. But, he says the storms might have potential to make landfall will likely be concentrated in a couple of specific areas.

“Typically in El Nino years, the activity that does affect the United States is not toward the Carolinas, but centered toward the
central Gulf Coast, maybe Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle area,” he said. “That might be a place to look as the only area that might be close to a normal threat level.”

Hurricane season begins June 1. The last hurricane to affect the Houston area was Ike back in 2008.

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