The 2019 hurricane season is well underway way. Beginning in June of each year, hurricane season in Florida is characterized by increased activity in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, including tropical storms and hurricanes. Thanks to technological advances and better understand of the early signs of hurricane formation, Floridians and residents in other vulnerable areas of the world are able to better prepare for an impending storm. Current technology can predict the formation and path of a storm from nearly the moment of inception.
As a homeowner or resident living in South Florida, staying informed about impending storms is important to ensuring you and your family are prepared. Hurricane season in 2019 was initially predicted to include 13 named storms, but the occurrence of the El Nino phenomenon has caused an update to earlier predictions.
What is El Niño?
The weather phenomenon known as El Niño is an irregularly occurring weather pattern that is characterized by a band of warm water affecting central to eastern-central Pacific Ocean. This occurs every two to five years, affecting nutrient levels in the water and aquatic life. El Niño can increase the frequency of hurricanes, as the warm waters create perfect conditions for storms to form.
With the occurrence of El Niño during this year’s hurricane season, weather experts are predicting more frequent and more powerful storms.
Updated 2019 Hurricane Season Predictions
As of the beginning of August, meteorologists are now anticipating between 12 and 16 storms to from before the end of hurricane season, which may extend beyond the typical November 30th end date. Of these storms, nearly half are expected to form hurricanes, with up to four becoming major hurricanes. A major hurricane is defined as category three or higher, with winds exceeding 111 miles per hour.
While these predictions do not exceed what is average for hurricane season, the El Niño phenomenon does pose a threat for residents in affected areas, especially island communities in the Caribbean and Florida Keys. Residents living near or below sea level are at risk for massive flooding even days before a hurricane strike.
If you live in a high-risk area, being informed and prepared can prevent tragedy.
Preparing for a Hurricane
When it comes to preparing for a hurricane, don’t wait until last minute. Getting stuck in the chaos of thousands of Floridians flocking to stores to stock up on water and canned foods may leave you dangerously unprepared. Instead, ensure you and your family are well-stocked with non-perishable foods and enough water to last at least three days. Water supplies for up to two weeks may be ideal.
Other items you may need include:
- Battery-powered radio
- A manual can opener
- Non-perishable pet food
- One gallon of water per person or pet per day
- Gasoline for a generator if applicable (stored properly)
- First aid kit
- Two weeks’ worth of medications
- A basic tool kit
Before a storm strikes, be sure to review your home owner’s insurance for the terms of your hurricane coverage. Don’t assume you are protected, as most basic home insurance policies do not cover hurricane damage. Often, this requires additional coverage for flooding and wind damage. If you need to adjust your plan, do it now to ensure your claim will be covered should something happen later on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to hurricane damage.