ORLANDO, Fla. — One of Central Florida's U.S. congresswomen is asking the federal government to make the Atlantic hurricane season longer, saying that for the past six years, storms have been named before the official start date.
What You Need To Know
- Democratic congresswoman wants hurricane season extended
- Rep. Stephanie Murphy is a member of Climate Solutions Caucus
- She cites named storms appearing in May for 6 straight years
- READ IT: Rep. Murphy's letter to NOAA on hurricane season start (PDF)
Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy, whose district covers parts of Seminole and Orange counties, says that because of the increase in preseason named storms, the current dates delineating the season, which she says hasn't been updated since 1965, no longer reflect hurricane activity.
In a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Murphy says the season should be expanded to include latter half of May. She says for the past six years, there's been at least one named storm form in the Atlantic Basin before June 1, with three — Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal — this year alone.
Murphy says that because officials and residents rely on the dates to plan financially and logistically, an inaccurate start date could compromise readiness and therefore put people in danger.
"I believe that the recent increase in pre-season storms should lead NOAA to a conduct a thorough, scientifically-sound review of whether the Atlantic hurricane season should be updated accordingly,” she wrote.
NOAA spokesman Christopher Vaccaro told the Associated Press that the agency "looks forward to discussing the topic with her," AP wrote.
Although several tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic before June 1 in recent years, most of them have been “marginal in their structure" and improved satellite monitoring has likely led to an increase in short-lived, weak storms being named by the National Hurricane Center in recent years, said
Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University who publishes an annual hurricane season forecast, told AP that since there's only been one named hurricane before June since 1966, "I don’t think there is any reason to lengthen the hurricane season, since we haven’t had a hurricane in May in 50 years."
Murphy, a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, also says climate change is a factor in the recent uptick in activity.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.