This year’s first named storm in the Atlantic has come and gone. But don’t think that it means the 2019 hurricane season will be so easy. Experts agree that if you live anywhere near an area at risk for storm surges, flooding, or wind damage, prepare for a bumpy ride.
Andrea Arrives Early and Fizzles Out
According to the National Hurricane Center, the first official storm of the season arrived on Monday. Tropical Storm Andrea formed off the coast of Bermuda, but it fizzled out before ever making landfall.
What’s significant is that 2019 marks the fifth year in a row with a named storm brewing up before the start of the hurricane season on June 1. Storms are coming earlier every year, and bigger storms are hitting the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast with increasing frequency.
Atlantic Storm Prediction
In the Atlantic basin, researchers are now predicting anywhere from 5-7 hurricanes this year. Of those, 2-4 will be major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). We can expect about half of those storms to actually make landfall in the United States–but that number can change at any time.
Besides, you know what they say–it’s not the size of a hurricane that counts. Harvey and Florence weren’t the most powerful storms, but the inland flooding they caused was devastating to a huge number of people.
Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are urging anyone who lives within 50 miles of the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico to prepare for catastrophic flooding this year.
Strong Storms Headed to the Pacific, Too
The Central Pacific also needs to brace themselves for a tougher-than-average hurricane season. Forecasters in Honolulu reported a 70% chance of increased tropical cyclones in 2019.
The director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Chris Brenchley, offered these words of wisdom: “It is up to all of us to prepare ourselves, our families, the community so that we are able to be resilient in the face of any hazard. Hurricane season presents those hazards altogether at once.”
Couldn’t have put it better, brother.
Do You Have a Plan?
The NOAA polled residents near the US coastlines to find out how many of them were prepared for a disaster. Only 16% of them had a plan in place!
That’s almost criminal. Maybe it has to do with normalcy bias. But you and I both know that it’s insane not to prepare for a hurricane this year.
If you’re in a vulnerable region, make sure that you know your evacuation route. If you plan to shelter in place, stock up on supplies now–and not the day before a storm hits.