Amanda Ripley

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Hurricanes 2008

9th Apr 2008 posted in Disaster Behavior

It’s that time again! Hurricane predictions are out from Colorado State University. These predictions are like horoscopes: your brain knows they may be totally wrong, but there is something irresistible about them anyway.

So let’s indulge for a moment: just so you know, the CSU team now predicts a worse-than-average hurricane season, anticipating 8 hurricanes. (The average is 6.) This prediction is more dire than their December estimate because the forecasters have more data now. They make their predictions by comparing oceanic and atmospheric trends to periods before other, past hurricane seasons. They have only been wrong (about whether it will be a better or worse than average season) 13 times out of the past 58 years.

The next forecast comes out in June, which is when hurricane season begins. It’s worth staying tuned. Even though hurricane predictions are imprecise, they are better than nothing. And since we know for sure that we are in a cycle of dangerous hurricanes—and that we have placed more of our lives and property at risk than ever before because of the way we live—we should make the most of our modern advantages, such as they are.