Official start hurricane season comes on heals of two named storms
POSTED: Monday, June 4, 2012 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Monday, June 4, 2012 - 8:01am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is here, but that's just going by the calendar.
Mother Nature didn't wait.
She's already produced two preseason tropical storms, the first time that's happened since 1908.
The latest, Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall on Memorial Day near Jacksonville Beach.
It was the strongest May storm to make landfall ever in the U.S. with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, just shy of becoming a hurricane.
It's a reminder to be prepared.
NOAA forecasters are predicting nine to 15 named storms this year, with four to eight strengthening into hurricanes, three of them major.
"Know what you're going to do and be ready, because you don't get a second chance in a storm," advises FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
The wild card in this year's forecast is El Nino, a weather pattern that could form in late summer.
If it develops forecasters say El Nino wind shear should limit the formation of hurricanes.
If you feel like we've been seeing more hurricanes lately, you're right.
Hurricane season activity has been above normal 12 of the past 17 years.