The Forecast: After the brutal storms of the mid-aughts—Katrina, Rita, and Ivan—several mild seasons have bumped hurricanes from the national disaster radar. But that’s just a hiatus caused by ocean-current cycles and El Niño. Research from MIT has shown that, since 1995, Atlantic storms have gotten bigger and more frequent. Experts at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center expect the end of La Niña to spin out at least eight major hurricanes.
Stats: 1—number of months hurricane season has increased over the past century, according to Jay Gulledge, director of the Science and Impacts program at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Worst-Case Scenario: Getting caught in a storm unprepared. If you live in a hot zone, retrofit your garage doors with braces, put bolts on exterior doors, and trim trees so branches won’t crash down on your house. When a storm approaches, use plywood or hurricane shutters on windows and place sandbags around low-lying areas. Then leave town.
Smart move: Keep a survival kit with food, water, cash, batteries, and a radio in a sturdy room in case you can’t get out of Dodge in time.