2017 Hurricane Season: Are You Ready?!
After Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew brought havoc to Florida last fall, hurricane season probably isn’t something you’re looking forward to. But whether we like it or not, the 2017 hurricane season is upon us.
The season runs until November 30, although it’s possible that tropical storms, tropical depressions, or hurricanes can form outside this designated time zone. In fact, Tropical Storm Arlene showed us just last month that nature doesn’t exactly abide by our rules. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2017 may be an above-average year for hurricanes and storms. They attribute their predictions to warm sea surface temperatures and a weak El Nino, a natural phenomenon that occurs when waters are warmer than normal.
A Busy Season
NOAA predicts that there will be:
- 11-17 named storms
- 5-9 hurricanes
- 2-4 major hurricanes
And if you’re curious, names for the storms this year include Gert, Katia, Ophelia, Rina, Tammy, and Vince. When a storm is particularly devastating, the name gets retired. We won’t be seeing a storm named Katrina or Matthew again, for example.
Of course, Florida isn’t the only state that is affected by hurricanes and big storms. Louisiana saw massive destruction with Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy brought chaos to New Jersey. In fact, last year’s Hermine and Matthew were the first hurricanes to make landfall in Florida since 2005’s Wilma, giving our state its longest hurricane-free streak. Still, Florida is particularly vulnerable to storm damage, since the state is a peninsula. Particularly in areas like the Florida Keys, the storm surge of a hurricane can be extremely dangerous.
As Hurricane Matthew attacked Florida’s Atlantic coast last fall, Floridians learned about the importance of hurricane preparation and evacuation. Since a storm hadn’t caused major damage since 2005, many Floridians were not prepared, and some were slow — or even unwilling — to obey evacuation orders. This year, hopefully all Floridians have learned lessons about hurricane preparation.
2017 Hurricane Season Prep
According to Ready.Gov, some basic hurricane safety tips include:
- Have an emergency evacuation plan in place. It’s important to have a few evacuation options, since the storm could come from various directions. Know that heavy flooding could close certain roads, so have a backup plan.
- Pack an emergency kit, which should include flashlights and batteries, a first aid kit, copies of important information, and bottled water
- Before the start of hurricane season, trim tree branches, and remove any dead or dying branches.
- Consider purchasing a generator
- If an evacuation order is issued, obey it immediately
Throughout the hurricane season, we’ll continue posting tips about storm safety. We can hope that NOAA’s predictions are incorrect and that this will be a peaceful hurricane season, but in reality, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Have a safe 2017 hurricane season!
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