After 2017 forecasts predicted average to above-average storm activity for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season (June 1-Nov. 30), the BoatUS Seaworthy Program compared more than 20 years of storm predictions to help boaters better understand and decipher them.
The Seaworthy program helps BoatUS members avoid injuries and boat damage by analyzing insurance claims data. Members of the program looked at storm predictions from Colorado State University’s Philip Klotzbach and the late Bill Gray.
“Our mission was not to judge the forecasters, but to find out how much confidence we should have in the hurricane-season predictions and what it means to boaters,” Seaworthy director Charles Fort said in a statement. “Early season hurricane predictions don’t attempt to forecast the percentage of storms that will come ashore or which coastal locations will be in the crosshairs.”
After comparing annual predictions with the weather that occurred, the Seaworthy program said it discovered that of 22 years of forecasts, only one year was 100 percent accurate. In some years there were as many as eight more storms than predicted.
Fort said that when it comes to hurricanes “a boater’s mantra should be hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Have a well thought out hurricane plan, and prepare your boat as best as possible. It could mean the difference between an easy recovery after a storm or a complete loss.”
Free hurricane-planning help is available at www.boatus.com/hurricanes and boaters can get public advisories and detailed maps of the forecast track, wind bands and wind field for each named storm from the National Hurricane Center.