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Hurricanes: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Winds?

John Deiner

So, no ill winds blew our way during this year's hurricane season, which ends today. But how scary is that for the future?

There's an interesting wrapup on the season -- which caused mayhem in the tropics (more than 200 people died from the 14 storms that formed, and back-to-back Category 5 storms slammed into Central America) but basically spared the States -- from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In the report, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center sums it up pretty well. "The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season produced the predicted number of named storms, but the combined number, duration and intensity of the hurricanes did not meet expectations," said Gerry Bell. "The United States was fortunate this year to have fewer strong hurricanes develop than predicted. Normally, the climate patterns that were in place produce an active, volatile hurricane season."

A Reuters story on the season, though, strikes a different chord in its lead paragraph: "For a second year in a row, the United States has escaped a severe hurricane hit, pushing memories of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans another notch into the past."

So true. How complacent are we becoming after two years of relatively benign weather during the hurricane season? Forecasters are admitting this year's prognostications were off the mark.

People often ask us in the Travel section whether it's advisable to travel to hurricane-prone areas in season, and we often answer in the affirmative, as you're far more likely not to be hit by a hurricane than to actually encounter one. But we do tell folks to keep their eyes on forecasts and to act sensibly if something large and swirling is coming their way. Here's hoping that next year, people won't ignore the forecasts based on a relatively benign year. (And to that end, who's thinking about snow? I love CapitalWeather.com, a local blog whose producers are even bigger snow fans than me and the dude who sits across my pod wall. Check if out whenever you're planning a regional trip this winter).

But back to hurricanes: Anyone out there refuse to travel during hurricane season? And anyone encounter one this season?

By John Deiner |  November 30, 2007; 7:02 AM ET  | Category:  John Deiner , Travel Strategies , Travel Survival Tips
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I would not normally plan trips to the hurricane-prone regions during the danger season, and would even worry about trips during the "fringe" months. That being said, I would not worry much about scheduling air flights OVER or through the trouble spots.

Posted by: Frederick, MD | December 4, 2007 11:29 AM

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