Hurricane season is upon us.
Hurricanes are the most violent storms on Earth and they have deadly consequences.
What’s the difference between a hurricane and a regular storm? Any storm with wind from 39 to 74 mph is considered a tropical storm, and receives a name from the World Meteorological Organization. These tropical cyclones must reach a sustained wind speed of at least 74-95 mph to be considered a Category 1 hurricane. In total, there are five categories of hurricane.
The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st and will last through the end of November 2018. Subtropical storm Alberto kicked things off a little early when it reached peak intensity on May 28th and touched down in the United States in the days following.
If you live in hurricane country, or you know someone who does, keep reading to learn more about what to expect and how to stay safe.
2017 In Review
- 17 named storms
- 10 hurricanes
- 6 major hurricanes
- Harvey, Irma, and Maria were three of the five costliest hurricanes in U.S. History -- the total cost was around $265 billion
- Hurricane Maria was the 10th most intense hurricane on record
- 4,645 estimated deaths resulted from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
- 15 million people were without power in Florida after Hurricane Irma touched down
- 69 deaths occurred due to Hurricane Irma
- September 2017 was the single-most powerful month in history for hurricane intensity
- Hurricane Harvey produced the most rainfall ever from a tropical cyclone
- 60 deaths occurred due to Hurricane Harvey.
Here’s what’s in store for the United States in 2018.
- 14 named storms are predicted by Colorado State University
- 10-16 named storms is the average estimate by most organizations
- 1-4 of those are expected to evolve into major hurricanes
- Average to above average number of hurricanes are expected.
- August-October is peak hurricane season
- One conclusion: there is no way to predict how many hurricanes will land in the US, so families must prepare
How To Prepare
While meteorologists can look at weather patterns to predict the likely number of hurricanes, there is no way for them to determine when, where, or how devastating their impact will be.
Preparation for any natural disaster always starts the same:
Have a plan.
Our guide on how to create an emergency communication plan will help you get started with the basics: who you will communicate with, how you will do so, where you will meet up, and an out-of-town contact to keep all family members updated.
Most emergency communication plans have these same basic elements, but a plan for hurricanes might be slightly different. For example, your hurricane plan should include the route you will take if you live in an evacuation zone. These routes will vary based on traffic, road conditions, and recommendations from FEMA.
You should also consider an evacuation plan for your pets, aging relatives, or small children who may require assistance.
Storm-proof your home.
Rains, winds, and flooding can all cause major damage to your home.
There are a few easy steps you can take to minimize the impact. Reinforce the roof, doors, garage door, and windows. Trim trees, secure gutters, and make sure that your property is free of debris that may cause damage in high winds.
Stock up on supplies.
A well-stocked emergency kit is essential if you’re one of those who must evacuate at a moment’s notice.
If you want to be prepared to hunker down and ride out the storm, consider purchasing a backup power source like a generator or solar panel. There are many communities in Puerto Rico that are still without access to power or consistent food and clean water.
You might end up stuck in a location with limited access to supplies. Additional water and food packs are crucial.
How to Help
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area not impacted by hurricanes, you may want to help instead.
Visit our Disaster Relief Program to learn how $5 from every purchase goes straight to disaster relief.
While you’re there, you can check out some of the incredible disaster relief organizations that we work with, including All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response.
The Bottom Line
If 2018 experiences even half the destruction from hurricanes that 2017 brought us, the U.S. is in for some major damage. Prepare your home and your family, get your evacuation routes set, and stock up on food, water, and generators. If you don’t live in hurricane country, consider donating or volunteering for those who may be most severely impacted.
As always, we are here to help. Send us an email or social media message and let us know what questions you have about hurricane season and emergency preparation.