Damage from hurricanes is a leading cause for boat insurance claims according to BoatUS, the nation’s largest organization of recreational boat owners. So with most 2017 storm forecasts currently predicting average to above-average storm activity for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 through November 30), the organization has taken a long-range look at the accuracy of those predictions though its BoatUS Seaworthy Program.
Click image for full frame. Bottom numbers indicate how many hurricanes were forecast for each year. Red icons above the line indicate how many more hurricanes occurred than predicted. Blue icons below the line indicate how many fewer hurricanes occurred than predicted.
The research compared more than two decades of storm predictions from noted Colorado State University’s hurricane forecasters Philip Klotzbach and the late Bill Gray. “Our mission was not to judge the forecasters but to find out how much confidence we should have in the hurricane-season predictions and what it means to boaters,” said Charles Forth, the director of the Seaworthy Program, in a press release today from BoatUS.
After comparing annual predictions to actual weather, Seaworthy discovered that out of 22 years of hurricane season activity forecasts, only one was 100-percent accurate. In some years, there were up to eight more storms than predicted.
According to Fort, boaters often misinterpret what the forecasters try to do.
“Early season hurricane predictions don’t attempt to forecast the percentage of storms that will come ashore or which coastal locations will be in the crosshair,” he said in the release. “BoatUS members can get public advisories from the National Hurricane Center as they are issued, as well as detailed maps of the forecast track, wind bands and wind field for each named storm.
“Weather forecasting is tricky business,” he continued. “Despite what forecasters may predict, a boater’s mantra should be hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Have a well-thought-out hurricane plan, and prepare your boat as best as possible. It could mean the difference between an easy recovery after a storm or a complete loss.”
Free hurricane-planning help is available online at BoatUS.com/hurricanes.