We're now almost two months into hurricane season, one that's been forecast to be an active year. Just because the tropics have been quiet so far, it's no reason to let your guard down. Subtropical Storm Andrea and Tropical Storm Barry are the only systems that have formed in the tropics so far. Even though this may seem unusual it's actually pretty normal as the average number of storms for June and July is 0-to-2. There are a few things that could attribute to the slow start such as high wind shear and slightly cooler water temperatures. However, the water temperature has been warming up over the past few weeks and is now very close to its normal value of 81 degrees, which is the fuel that hurricanes need. The high wind shear that so far has helped to hamper development is expected to weaken. So, these changing conditions could open the door for more systems to develop in the coming months. The official peak of hurricane season is September 10. Historically, the greatest number of storms occur from August 20 to October 14. Just to give you a few examples: the first storm in 2004 didn't form until August 1 and it was one of the worst hurricane seasons on record in decades. There were 15 storms that year -- nine of which were hurricanes. In 1998 there were 10 hurricanes and the first one didn't form until late July. So we are just getting started this hurricane season and have until November 30 before we are out of the woods. The question is: are you ready for any tropical systems that may affect southeastern North Carolina in the coming months? Brunswick County is making sure its citizens are prepared by having a hurricane preparedness forum. The event is from 7-9 p.m. Thursday at the Odell Williamson Auditorium at the Brunswick County Community College campus in Supply. It's open to all Brunswick County residents. The program will include representatives from county, state and federal emergency management, the local weather service and WWAY TV3 meteorologist Sonya Stevens. We will discuss what people need to do to get ready for hurricane season and what each of these organizations has already done to prepare. So with the heart of hurricane season right around the corner, do you and your family a favor. Make sure you have a family plan and all the necessary supplies.
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