The bad news is that hurricane season is already upon us. The good news is that we know when they’re coming – and so we have time to prepare. A hurricane warning means that you have 36 hours to make a plan. But, please don’t leave your tropical storm plans for the last few hours! We encourage you to educate yourself and your loved ones – and to organize your house accordingly.
What You Need to Know About Hurricanes in 2021
2021 looks likely to pick up where 2020 left off. Last year’s hurricane season was off the charts – literally. Hurricanes are named A through Z, and after those ran out last year, the letters of the Greek alphabet were used – causing confusion for the pronunciation of similar-sounding names like Zeta, Eta, Theta, and Iota.
So while the World Meteorological Organization recently announced that the names of Greek letters were being retired, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted an “above-average” hurricane season in the Atlantic. Starting with the name Ana in 2021, a hurricane with a human name could be making landfall to a coastal town near you. It takes 14 named storms, 3 major hurricanes, and 7 hurricanes to constitute an ‘average’ hurricane season.
The NOAA reckons the increased averages since 1995 are on account of the better technology we have to detect the storms (the good news for us) and a “high-activity era” that can’t be blamed directly on climate change.
“Hurricane hunters” are satellites that provide reliable information on the strength and structure of a tropical storm. This leads to accurate forecasts and warnings and coordinated emergency plans with communities in coastal areas. This is where your cooperation is needed – we’ll get to that later on.
What to Expect
If you are a resident of the US Gulf Coast, expect a 70% likelihood of a hurricane landfall along your coast in 2021. An average season has a 50% probability by way of comparison. When a hurricane reaches land, it loses power as it can no longer draw water from the ocean. But the strong winds cause a storm surge, which in turn causes flooding and destroys property. Damage is quickly done.
The Gulf of Mexico is warmer than average this year; so too is most of the Atlantic Basic (it’s particularly warm off the Northeast coast and near Bermuda). Hurricanes love warm sea temperatures and will start to develop thanks to the periodic cooling of the tropical eastern and Central Pacific oceans, called La Niña.
The moist air mass is created when cool winds and warm sea air mix – and so the trouble starts. Hurricane Laura was one such hurricane last year that started out as a tropical wave, before making landfall in Louisiana, causing 77 deaths and property damage in excess of $19 billion.
How to Prepare for a Tropical Storm
Even though we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and your focus may be elsewhere, it helps to be hurricane-ready. Make a plan for severe weather in your area by taking note of these Top 3 Things You Can Do To Stay Ahead of The Tropical Storm:
- Family Evacuation Plan. In the event of an emergency and your family becoming separated, have an agreed-upon rendezvous point and pre-planned escape routes in accordance with your town’s evacuation protocol. This plan can include shutting off the power at your house if you leave in a rush and preparing survival kits with medication and valuable documentation beforehand. Think of your pets too.
- Evaluate your electrical situation. Are all your appliances above the expected floodwater levels? Have you got a backup generator in case you stay home but there’s a power outage? A sump pump is handy if you need to drain excess water away from the house.
- Secure the perimeter. Now is a good time to put your fort-building skills to the test by making use of sandbags and any building materials you may have lying around (think plastic sheeting, plywood, and nails) to barricade your entrances and prevent water from entering your home. Protect furniture by placing it on blocks or wrapping the legs in aluminum foil.
What to Do if You Have Storm Damage
Once the storm has passed, and authorities have said that it is safe to return to your home, be sure to:
- Avoid walking through flowing water of any kind (this can include dangerous debris from the storm).
- Stay away from electrical wiring that has come into contact with water (downed power lines in the neighborhood are really dangerous).
- Watch out for snakes and other wildlife that might have moved into your home while you were away.
- Meticulously photograph all the damage for insurance purposes.
- Throw away any food that may have been contaminated.
How We Can Help
Restoration 1 is here to help in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm wreaking havoc in your life. Available 24/7 for emergencies day or night, Restoration 1 will mobilize quickly and be on-site within an hour to deal with your water damage disaster. We are also trained and certified to prevent mold infestations that can often follow residential or commercial water damage.
Need help with professional water damage restoration or mold removal? Contact our friendly and certified team of experts at your local Restoration 1. To find your nearest Restoration 1 location, click here.