The 2017 hurricane season is expected to be very active. Here’s how to prepare for hurricane weather BEFORE you experience power outages.
Updated Hurricane Forecast from Colorado State University
The U.S. could be hit by one of the busiest storm seasons in years. The forecast by longtime hurricane experts at Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science predicts an above-average season—with 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. See more 2017 hurricane forecast details. Three of the eight hurricanes are forecast to be Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. These storms have wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour, capable of causing what the National Hurricane Center describes as devastating damage.
Updated Hurricane Forecast from NOAA
According to the National Hurricane Center experts at NOAA, the probability of an above-normal season is 60%. There is now only a 10% chance for a below-normal season.
NOAA forecasts 14 to 19 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and two to five major hurricanes. This follows several relatively quiet years, ending Florida’s 11-year hurricane-free streak and producing the strongest Atlantic storm season since 2007.
Why So Stormy?
In brief, the busy seasonal hurricane forecast is attributed to the recent warming of waters in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean and the weak or nonexistent El Niño, the periodic warming of the Pacific that tends to suppress the formation of hurricanes.
From 2016 through 2017, weather has been more extreme than usual, with swings in low and high temperatures, record flooding, and now a more severe storm season predicted. In fact, we have had what you might call a record number of weather records!
Chance of Landfall
Colorado State University predicts a 62% chance of a hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coastline, a 38% chance of landfall on the U.S. East Coast (including the Florida peninsula), and a 38% chance of landfall on the Gulf Coast.
There is not a strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls. However, if a stronger hurricane makes landfall, it’s best to be prepared, no matter what.
Flooding and Power Outages
Hurricanes cause high winds and often flooding, too. All of this can mean power outages. Before a power outage happens, think about what you might need if you are isolated for a number of days and must endure one. Check out this Blackout and Power Outage Tracker to explore causes and impacts for your state or region. You may be surprised by how vulnerable the U.S. power grid is to power outages!
- Trim trees and shrubs around your home to minimize the risk of broken branches and debris.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent misdirected flooding.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Keep articles in your basement elevated to avoid damage from even minor flooding.
- In high-risk areas, make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with ⅝-inch marine plywood—cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Consider building a safe room.
- Keep a well-stocked Emergency Survival Kit in case you lose power.
- To avoid a power outage, have a backup home generator. A standby generator automatically turns on during a blackout to keep the lights on, food and medicine from spoiling, the heat or A/C running, and medical devices operating.
Take a day and make sure you go through this preparation checklist! See more tips on how to survive a hurricane.