Forecasters predict between 0 and 2 major hurricanes this season

Forecasters predict between 0 and 2 major hurricanes this season

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Federal forecasters predict a below-normal hurricane season, and if conditions are right, NOAA says we may not even see a single major hurricane this year. It's a forecast they say is based on the best information yet.

In Southeast Louisiana, we know that it only takes one. The hurricane season starts Monday.

"For 2015, NOAA predicts Atlantic season six to 11 named storms of 35 mph," said Kathryn Sullivan with NOAA.

At City Hall, NOAA, FEMA and the City of New Orleans unveiled their upcoming predictions. Aside from six to 11 named stores, NOAA predicts between three and six hurricanes, with zero to two major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5 packing winds of 111 miles per hour or higher.

"The likely range is zero to 2. If El Nino continues to strengthen, it's possible we'll see zero hurricanes," said chief NOAA forecaster Jerry Bell.

A lot of people wonder just how good are these predictions. NOAA says they're very good.

"We've nailed the outlooks five of the last six years," Bell said.

NOAA has new slosh models to help understand the risk of flood in a tropical storm.

"It scales down to a more manageable level that shows scales more pertinent to emergency managers here," said Sullivan.

Weather watchers warn that even though they're forecasting a lower than usual number of storms, in an El Nino year, there's no reason to lower your guard.

"You go back to '57 with Audrey and '65 with Betsy, all El Nino years, we have to prepare like we're going to be hit," said Ken Graham with the National Weather Service.

City officials say it's time to stock up on storm necessities like canned food, bottled water and batteries.

"You have to be prepared for 72 hours of no one getting to you. That's the window everyone needs to prepare for," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

And they say if and when an evacuation order is given, everyone should heed the warning.

FEMA says the contracts are in place to provide busses for those who don't have a vehicle. If you fall in that category, you should call 311 to register for a bus ride. And they say everyone should familiarize themselves with the "evacuteer" sculptures all over town for bus pickup locations.

Copyright 2015. WVUE all rights reserved