No hurricanes have formed yet in the Atlantic this season, nor do any appear imminent, making it the slowest start to a hurricane season in more than a decade. But it would need to keep up for a couple of weeks to be record-setting.
The season's seventh tropical storm, to be named Gabrielle, could form within the next few days off the west African coast, but the hurricane season is meanwhile falling increasingly behind its typical pace.
The peak of hurricane season is approaching later this month, but storm activity is unlikely for the first half of August because of a massive cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert moving across the Atlantic.
This year the National Weather Service is predicting a very active tropical storm season. Only time will tell if the prediction is right, but the best thing to do is take a few precautions, just in case it is.
A record-warm spring, second-warmest summer, fourth-warmest winter and above-normal fall made 2012 the warmest year on record for the contiguous states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The National Hurricane Center is loosening the criteria it uses in issuing hurricane warnings so that future storms like Superstorm Sandy would prompt the same alerts as if they were still officially classified as hurricanes, according to AccuWeather.com.
Harford County government continued to ramp up its preparations for Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, advising residents of the city of Havre de Grace to consider evacuating their homes in anticipation of the tropical storm's landfall in the region, now expected sometime Monday. The county also announced a public shelter will be open to provide temporary housing starting at 7 p.m. Sunday at Patterson Mill High School, 85 Patterson Mill Road, in Bel Air. Public schools and county offices will be closed
By AEGIS STAFF and BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA GROUP REPORTS