Nightly News | May 24, 2012
>>> to say our weather in many parts of the country has not been normal of late. in fact, far from it when you consider the historic and severe hurricanes and tornadoes we have witnessed to the freak events like the halloween blizzard in the east to a lack of winter for millions of americans this past season. it's against that backdrop that today's official government hurricane forecast comes out just as america geared up for the traditional start of the summer kickoff weekend, and it's where we begin our reporting tonight with nbc's tom costello.
>> get ready for the ferocious power of mother nature . the official start of hurricane season is still a week away, but it's already been an active two weeks. trop ical storm alberto has come and gone as hurricane bud churned off new mexico. now a category two storm. today from noaa, a prediction for a near normal hurricane season between june 1st and november 30th . that means 9 to 15 tropical storms with 4 to 8 strengthens into hurricanes. and one to three of those becoming major hurricanes , category 3 or greater. the big wild card , the warmer effect fromel el nino in the pacific.
>> el nino tends to increase the wind shear . wind shear tends to suppressory even kill off hurricanes.
>> last year was one of the worst years on record for hurricanes. 19 in total. including one of the most expensive, irene. it slammed the east coast , and even arbeing downgraded to a tropical storm , reached as far inland as vermont, tearing down historic bridges and isolated entire towns. the total price tag, nearly $16 billion. now, 2012 .
>> this is something i have never seen before.
>> already a year of extremes. 63 people killed as more than 400 tornadoes tore through the country in late winter and spring.
>> we peeked out the window and saw trees coming out of the ground.
>> now the national's hurricane hunters begin the ritual of watching and waiting. as if they needed any reminder, this august will mark the 20th anniversary of hurricane andrew that tore through south florida in 1992 , killing 26 people. there's no suggestion, though, brian, that that kind of storm might be brewing this year.
>> tom costello starting us off at the map in washington.