Hurricane season started a week earlier than expected when Subtropical Storm Alberto first made its appearance in the Gulf of Mexico last month. Alberto made its way from Florida through Alabama and Tennessee, hitting North Carolina, and even reaching Michigan. Despite the early arrival of Alberto marking the start of hurricane season, researchers are adjusting their prediction of seven hurricanes this year down to six. Temperatures of the Atlantic have a lot to do with this shift.

Ocean temperatures near Azores are 2-3 degrees cooler this year than they were at this time last year. The Atlantic is experiencing abnormally high pressure, causing the ocean to stir and increasing evaporation, resulting in cooler water. While many areas are still recovering from last year’s storm destructions, researchers are seeing a brighter horizon as storm predictions continue to drop.

Those directly affected by hurricanes can feel the effect for ages following an intense storm. Missouri City, Texas has not received any of the $1 million in federal disaster funds that it was supposed to receive from Hurricane Harvey. That money will be allocated towards protecting the city from further damage caused by flooding of the local bayou. Missouri City is not the only area waiting on their reimbursement from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Over $230 million of the $695 million expected for Texas is still outstanding while Florida has only received 1 percent of its promised $83 million in federal money.

Along with destruction, a hurricane brings mayhem to the energy markets. The Gulf of Mexico produces approximately 5 percent of U.S. natural gas and 17 percent of crude. When gas prices go up, all markets are affected. Everything from the travel industry to the food industry can feel the sting of a hurricane. Those not directly affected by a hurricane will feel the impact as costs rise. Hurricane season calls for preparation for businesses and individuals alike whether in a high risk area or not.