Residents of Central Texas might be forgiven if they overlooked the fact that this year’s hurricane season began Monday.
Our concerns during the spring season tend to drift more toward the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that are prone to strike — often without the several days’ warning coastal residents usually have with hurricanes.
Still, property owners hundreds of miles away from any gulf or ocean shore have come to understand in recent years that what happens along some distant coast can and will affect their lives. It may not be as disruptive or devastating to them as a hurricane can be to those in the direct path of a tropical depression, but the impact to our financial health can be significant even to areas that don’t receive a drop of rain from such storms.
The Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, whose annual forecast has proven to be accurate more often than not, anticipates an average hurricane season: an average number of named storms, with the usual probability of some of them coming ashore.
That means the United States can expect a dozen storms, half of them reaching hurricane strength and two qualifying as “intense.” Based on those statistics, one or more will hit the U.S. mainland. The East Coast has the highest probability of being hit, but the Gulf Coast is second. That’s a long target for storms, with Texas and Mexico being the final stopping points.
“Average” doesn’t count for much, however, when 100-mph winds rip your roof off and rising waters flood your cars.
Why should any of that matter too much to those of us so far island? In just the past decade, Americans have witnessed how a series of severe hurricanes can inflate construction prices nationwide, lay waste to neighborhoods to such a degree that it takes years to rebuild, and send thousands of people inland for temporary respite — if not permanent relocation.
For those reasons, as well as for simple humanitarian concern, hurricane season affects us all. And that time of year has arrived once more.