Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Hurricanes: Season's Greetings

Potentially "historic" Atlantic hurricane season opens today.

As noted in the Monday paper, the consensus among the experts is that the hurricane season that started today could end up being the busiest ever.

The interest of a loyal reader was piqued by a  paragraph suggesting that the odds were more favorable than usual that New Jersey would take a hit this season, and the reader requested an elaboration.

Before you put a for-sale sign on that beachfront property, be advised that in any given year the odds of any area of the coastline -- that would include Miami and New Orleans -- taking a direct hit from a hurricane are slim.

In areal coverage, hurricanes tend to be much smaller than winter storms, and also tend to move far more erratically.

Compared with the Gulf and Florida Coasts, the chances of a storm making landfall along the mid-Atlantic or Northeast shorelines are even slimmer.

That said, at least two major forecast services are saying that the odds of a storm slamming the more-northerly shores are far greater than usual.

The Colorado State University scientists, Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, that the likelihood of a storm striking the area from roughly Kitty Hawk, N.C., to Sandy Hook, N.J., is just over 3 percent in any given year. This season, it's 5 percent.

WSI Corp., a private service in Massarchusetts, says it is twice as likely that a hurricane would hit somewhere between North Carolina and Maine, compared with other years.

One overwhelming point to keep in mind is that the two hurricanes that did the most damage to the Jersey Shore -- ones in 1938 and 1944 -- passed parallel to the coast.