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6/3/2013 - New metric may bring about new classification for hurricanes


Hurricane season is here, so homeowners will want to prepare their properties accordingly.

With another hurricane season just kicking off on June 1, researchers have recently developed a tracking system that may eventually enable forecasters to more effectively determine a potential storm's overall capacity for damage.

The new system, which the scientists have dubbed Track Integrated Kinetic Energy, was developed by researchers from Florida State University and piggybacks on a metric that was designed in 2007. The latest updates to it have the creators of TIKE believing that it will provide tremendous insights to meteorologists once it's put into use. At this point, however, it's still in its developmental stages.

But Mark Powell, one of the creation's lead researchers, believes it's only a matter of time before it's broadly used. "I look forward to the global climate models improving enough to allow skillful predictions of storm size, which will help us predict TIKE for an upcoming season," said Powell.

At least two hurricanes in 2013 could be major
In the meantime, no one knows for sure just how intense the 2013 hurricane season will be. Impact Weather, a Houston, Texas-based forecasting company, predicts that there will be between 16 and 20 named storms, which would be right around how many formed in 2012. As for storms that will be officially categorized as hurricanes, the firm says that there's the potential for seven to nine. Of these, between two and four could be classified as intense, which meteorologists consider storms that are Category 3, 4 or 5.

When a hurricane is in the offing, naturally homeowners batten down the hatches by boarding up windows and trimming back trees and shrubs that may be near to one's property. But a storm doesn't necessarily have to be imminent in order to prepare a home for a potential disaster. A portion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website is devoted to hurricanes that renters and homeowners can consult to see what types of actions they can take now, as we enter the season's beginning. For example, it may be a good idea to purchase or install a generator now rather than later, as there could be a run on them between late June and November.

While many homeowners insurance and flood claims were filed last year stemming from hurricane damage, forecasters fear that hurricanes this year may cause even more destruction, so it's important to be proactive and prepare accordingly.


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