The 2017 hurricane forecast just got updated—and NOAA predicts “an extremely active storm season,” which could be the most active since 2010. See the forecast and how you are affected—and start preparing BEFORE you experience power outages.
Updated Hurricane Forecast from Colorado State University
The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30, is starting to heat up.
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—and they just updated their forecast in August to include an increase in activity to 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and three major hurricanes this season. 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 increased in August to 60% (compared to 45% in May), and it is now more likely that the season could be extremely active. There is now only a 10% chance for a below-normal season.
The forecasted numbers of named storms and major hurricanes have also increased. The season is now predicted to have from 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!
What Does This All Mean for Me?
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.
Prepare for Hurricanes 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.
- See more tips on how to survive a hurricane.
Remember when you wished you had a generator? Start planning now. It’s important you have a generator that can handle your power needs, too. Cummins Home Generators has a handy free evaluation to figure out how much power you use—and need.
How to Evaluate Your Home Generator Needs
Always use generators away from your home and never run a generator inside a home or garage or connect it to your electrical systems.
Cummins not only offers a free calculator to estimate your home’s generator’s needs, but also will send out a representative to help you find the generator that’s right for your home. (Cummins are the folks who provide backup power to places like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, so they are a trusted leader in generators!)
We hope this article has helped you to get ready for the next hurricane or storm. Have you ever ridden out a heavy storm or hurricane? Did you have a power outage? Did you have a backup generator? Please share your experiences and advice.