With the 2014 hurricane season officially beginning June 1, the college administration has begun making preparations for potential storms. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a near-normal or below-normal season.
The main driver of this year’s outlook is the anticipated development of El Niño this summer. El Niño causes stronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño can also strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.
The outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season. For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 8 to 13 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
These numbers are near or below the seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, based on the average from 1981 to 2010. The Atlantic hurricane region includes the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
There is always a possibility of a storm striking the Mississippi Gulf Coast, even in years with below normal predictions. All college employees should take a moment to review their department’s severe-weather policies and plans as well as personal emergency weather plans. Communications play a key role during any emergency, so college information will be communicated through the Connect-ED system, the website, social media and the college’s toll-free number.
To enhance communication efforts, please review the following checklist:
- To ensure notification through Connect-ED, visit Web Services by logging in through the college website. Once you have logged in to the secure area, update your emergency notification information at the bottom, left-hand side of the page under the Personal Information tab. It will ask you to provide both a cell phone number and emergency email address. You will receive emergency information as a telephone call/voice mail, as a text message and as an email message.
- Employees and students are encouraged to check the website and can also call the college’s toll-free phone number, 1-866-735-1122, and check the MGCCC Facebook page for periodic college updates during severe-weather situations as well.
- If evacuation becomes necessary, students and employees who evacuate will find important updates through the local television, radio and newspapers as well as the Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s statewide network of radio and television affiliates. MPB’s radio frequencies are listed on all state evacuation signs.
- The college administration will continue to monitor evolving conditions in the tropics and will issue updates throughout the summer and fall.
- Periodic updates will be posted on this special section of the website throughout the 2014 hurricane season.
The following sites are also important to hurricane preparedness:
The safety, protection and well being of our employees and students are of the utmost importance as we prepare for severe weather as well as other emergencies.