Atlantic hurricane season has officially begun as of June 1 and the early predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is that this season will be somewhat quieter than past seasons. In the annual season outlook, the NOAA forecasted a near-normal or below-normal hurricane season. This means that there is a 70 percent chance of 8-13 named storms, with roughly 3 to 6 turning into hurricanes and 1-2 becoming severe hurricanes. This could translate to a below-average season if the prediction model holds as the season progresses. Since the season has scarcely began, these early predictions often don’t represent what will actually happen.
While early NOAA predictions are often uncertain in how they will actualize as the season progresses, comprehensive hurricane preparation is still a necessary part of personal well being. Forecasts don’t predict where storms will strike exactly or how many storms will strike land. Hurricanes can be highly variable and are not always consistent with forecasts–particularly in the early season.
The 2012 season was forecasted as a fairly quiet season as well and ended with Hurricane Sandy. Because of the variable nature of these kinds of storms, it is important to remain prepared for the worst and always assume the risk for severe destruction is great.
Regardless of the severity of the hurricane season, it is important to prepare thoroughly. Getting your home ready is one of the most important parts of the planning process.
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In anticipation of the storm season, you should have plans and materials to protect windows and doors and secure your belongings in and around the house. Installing permanent storm shutters or latches to anchor shutters on short notice is important if you live in a coastal area easily affected by severe hurricane winds and rains. Being prepared to cover windows and doors on short notice when a storm is forecasted to hit land is important, so have the mechanisms in place. Beyond preparing the outside of your home, you should put together an emergency preparedness kit as a means of remaining self-sustaining during and after a severe storm. Emergency kits should contain things like first aid kits, food, water, blankets, flashlights, and other survival essentials.
The goal with a preparedness kit is to be self-sustaining for 5-7 days after a disaster. If utilities are downed and services or transportation are compromised or limited, you need to be able to take care of yourself and loved ones in the short term. An emergency kit is essential year round, not just during hurricane season, but you should take particular interest in updating your kit at the start of Atlantic hurricane season.