The “official” start of hurricane season arrived with the first of June, but that point was largely overlooked amid the continued pounding the nation has been getting from tornadoes.
While concerns over hurricanes are primarily limited to coastal regions, these tropical depressions often cause extensive flooding hundreds of miles inland, after their damaging winds have been spent closer to the shoreline. Some of the most inland damage of this sort has been inflicted by lesser storms — by traditional measurements when they make landfall. That can happen when the remnants of a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, move inland and collide with a frontal system advancing from the opposite direction.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says climate conditions point to a near normal or above normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year. The center’s outlook calls for considerable activity with a 65 percent probability of an above normal season and a 25 percent probability of a near normal season. This means there is a 90 percent chance of a near or above normal season.
But the focus of weather-watchers this month has instead been much farther inland. Wicked storms pounded the country last weekend from the Midwest to the East Coast, forcing hundreds of people to flee flooded communities, spawning tornadoes that tore up houses and killing at least eight people.
Rescuers in boats continued to pluck people from rising waters in Indiana on Sunday, a day after more than 10 inches of rain deluged much of the state.
In Iowa, pumps and thousands of sandbags were sent to the Iowa City area, where officials fear a reservoir could top a spillway and flood the city of about 63,000 by today. The Indiana flooding killed at least one person, and another was missed after falling off a boat.
In Michigan, two delivery workers for The Grand Rapids Press drowned early Sunday when their car became submerged in a creek that washed out a road. Two other people in the state were killed by falling trees, one man drowned and a woman died when high winds blew a recreational vehicle on top of her. And lightning struck a pavilion at a state park in Connecticut, killing one person and injuring four.
As Americans make their summer travels, they would do well to monitor weather forecasts and conditions wherever they are. The climatic conditions are less than favorable, it appears, and precautions can protect life and property.