We’re nearly two and a half months into this year’s hurricane season, and we have seen no real threats.

It is easy for us to be lulled into complacency when we enter a storm season with little action in the skies.

It’s particularly tempting this year, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has decreased its forecast for the season. It now predicts that there could be between zero and two major storms in the coming months. That is down from the original forecast of up to four.

It also predicts fewer named storms and fewer hurricanes of any category.

The reason for the downgrade to the prediction is a combination of conditions that should make formation less likely.

“There’s much more inhospitable weather. And the weather and climate models agree,” said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal forecaster. “It’s an entire combination of conditions that suppresses hurricane activity.”

While all of that might sound good, there is also reason to remember that one storm, and it doesn’t even have to be a major one, can bring terrible devastation to places like south Louisiana.

We’ve seen hurricane seasons that weren’t particularly active overall bring horrific storms our way. And we’ve seen the opposite, seasons like last year’s that were brutally active but steered the storms clear of us.

We have to remember that we live in harm’s way. We are vulnerable to storms and have to go through storm season each year ready to pay attention to the weather reports and heed the advice of local and state officials – the people who ultimately decide whether it is safer to stay here or to evacuate.

None of this means we have to be hysterical or overconcerned about threats that might not take place. What it means is that we must remain vigilant and ready to react to Mother Nature.

Under extreme circumstances, it could mean deciding whether to stay at home with a chance that we will be without electricity and water for an extended period of time or get our families on the road and away from home.

Do what our experts tell us to do. If they say it’s time to go, go.

And think now about what that could entail. It will mean finding a way to move all your family members and pets and taking with you enough food and other supplies you will need until you can return.

Have on hand the clothes, extra medicine, cash and personal hygiene products, as well as any important documents you won’t want to leave at home.

We can watch the forecasts and take some comfort that the experts think storm development this year might be less active. But in the end, we have to prepare as though one will come our way. It is an unsettling feeling, but it is better to have a realistic view of what hurricane season – even a comparatively slow one – can deliver.

 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.