The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has warned that the 2013 hurricane season is expected to be ‘extremely active.’ This is in part because of unusually warm water temperatures that are already extending further north than normal. Last season’s Superstorm Sandy remained powerful even as it extended into waters off the US Northeastern Corridor because waters in the region were unseasonably warm. Hurricane season starts June 1 and continues for six months. 13 to 20 tropical storms are expected this year, with 7 to 11 of them becoming hurricanes.
At the same time that NOAA announced that this year’s hurricane season was liable to be a serious one, the GOES-13 satellite failed. The satellite is positioned to watch weather conditions in the Atlantic and along the US East Coast and is a crucial forecasting tool. Another satellite with less coverage has been substituted. There is no estimate about when or if the GOES-13 instrument will be brought back into service. The result of this is that the eastern US will not have as much early warning as has been provided in the past. Exactly what went wrong with GOES-13 is still being determined.