When the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration announced on May 22 its forecast of a very active hurricane season for 2006, the press went absolutely gaga reporting it. In fact, an unaudited LexisNexis search of the word “hurricane” on that day yielded more than 1,300 results, with 61 coming from the broadcast networks and cable news outlets alone.
With only three named tropical storms so far this season, and nothing significant hitting the American mainland yet, the NOAA will be revising its prediction on Tuesday, August 8:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 2, 2006
NOAA TO ANNOUNCE UPDATED 2006 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON OUTLOOK
Annual Update Precedes Season's Most Active Months
Representatives from NOAA will release the updated 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook as the hurricane season enters the historical peak period from August through October. The six-month season officially ends November 30.
WHAT: News conference to announce NOAA's updated 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. Media may dial in for an audio feed of the news conference. Please call the media contacts below for the number.
WHEN: Tuesday, August 8, 2006, 11:00 a.m. EDT
WHERE: National Press Club
Murrow Room 529 14th St. NW Washington, D.C.
As Scientific American reported on Thursday, one organization of note has already downgraded its prediction: "In its August forecast update, the Colorado State University team formed by researcher William Gray said the June to November season would produce seven, not nine, hurricanes and that three of those would be 'intense,' down from five in the earlier forecast."
This raises an interesting question: As it is speculated that the NOAA will follow suit by reducing its hurricane activity prediction for this season, will the press give as much attention to this downgrade as they did the original announcement in May?
As Ed Hart used to say, we will know in the fullness of time.