MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Welcome to the official start of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Unofficially, Alabama got the party started a little early. We start the season with the "A" storm already gone. Alberto's path of flooding and wind damage is a reminder that we live close to an ocean, which means we're impacted by hurricanes. We're not all on the coast, but that means very little.
"People say, 'Montgomery is so far away from the coast.' When we look at the dangers from tropical systems, 25 percent of fatalities are from inland rain,"said Director of the National Hurricane Center Ken Graham.
Some central Alabamians learned that lesson the hard way this week when upwards of 10 inches of rain fell from Alberto.
"Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover flood, so go to floodsmart.gov," said FEMA Region 4 Deputy Regional Administrator Robert Samaan.
Take that advice seriously as you look to prepare for what's ahead. Our local impacts extend well beyond the wind gust number attached to a storm.
"They wrongly look at wind speed as the sole predictor of impact," said NHC Storm Surge Specialist Jamie Rhome.
Preparation is the spice of life when it comes to hurricanes. And early predictions suggest preparing for what's ahead will be important. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75 percent chance of a normal to above normal season. They estimate 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 1-4 major hurricanes.
Current sea surface temperatures off the Atlantic are running abnormally cold at the moment, but the season is long with time for that to change. Remember, hurricanes like warmer water.
So 10-16 named storms. But do me a favor, forget that. Remember this.
"If there's one hurricane on earth this season and it hits Alabama, it was a busy season for us."
Over the last 150 years, there have been roughly 20 storms in the month of May. Of those, only three, including Alberto, directly moved through Alabama. Hurricane season officially runs through November.