Experts predict 2021 hurricane season “above average” – Forbes Advisor
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After a record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, the 2021 hurricane season is expected to be “above normal”, according to forecasts.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 13 to 20 named storms, with six to 10 hurricanes, of which three to five will become major hurricanes.
The first named storm, Ana, has already appeared for a season that does not officially begin until June 1.
“Major hurricanes” are defined as categories 3, 4 or 5 based on the Hurricane Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Hurricanes that fall into these categories have sustained winds of 111 mph or more, which can cause catastrophic damage that can lead to power outages and leave residential areas uninhabitable for days or even months.
“While NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, Acting NOAA Administrator. , in a press release.
This year’s NOAA forecast uses new, higher numbers to define an “average” season: 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, including three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5). The previous “average” was 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The NOAA “average” has increased because it now uses a 30-year recording period from 1991 to 2020. The previous 30-year period used storms from 1981 to 2010.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, but storms can form before and after.
Colorado State University also predicts an active season
The Colorado State University (CSU) Tropical Weather Project team is also forecasting an “above average” Atlantic hurricane season this year, with 17 named storms. This includes eight hurricanes, four of which are expected to become major hurricanes.
The CSU team bases its forecast on models that use 40 years of historical hurricane data and assesses conditions, including:
- Sea surface temperatures
- Sea level pressures
- Levels of vertical wind shear (the change in wind direction and speed with height in the atmosphere)
- El Niño
- Other factors
The CSU team cites the likely absence of El Niño as the main factor in an above-average season. El Niño is a climate model in the Pacific Ocean that breaks normal conditions. The frequency of hurricanes decreases during El Niño years due to increased windshear over the Caribbean and Atlantic, which can tear hurricanes apart as they begin to form.
The 2021 hurricane season has similar characteristics to those of 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017, according to the CSU. These seasons have all seen above-average Atlantic hurricane activity, according to Phil Klotzbach, a researcher in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and lead author of the report.
The CSU team predicts that this year’s hurricane activity will be around 140% t of the average season. Last year’s “above average” season saw about 170% of the average season.
The CSU will issue hurricane forecast updates on June 3, July 8 and August 5.
How accurate is the forecast for the hurricane season?
We calculated the NOAA and Colorado State hurricane forecast history over the past 10 years, measuring their first forecast for the season against the actual numbers. NOAA has had more accurate predictions, but it also uses a predicted range, rather than a single number like the state of Colorado.
How to prepare for hurricane season
FEMA recommends the following steps to prepare for any hurricane season:
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings. You may want to get a NOAA Weather Radio.
- Prepare to evacuate. Learn your local escape routes, have a place to stay, stockpile emergency supplies, and have a “carry-on bag” full of clothes and medicine.
- Have emergency contacts. It’s a good idea to have an out-of-state contact to register with, as well as contact details for family, school, work, and doctors.
- Protect your home. This includes reinforcing or strengthening doors, windows, walls and roofs. Bring light items (like patio furniture and garbage cans) inside. Anchor items that you cannot bring inside.
- Protect important documents. Keep documents such as financial documents, insurance policies, medical records, legal documents, birth certificates and other types of documents in a waterproof container.
During a hurricane, FEMA recommends following the advice of local authorities. If you are advised to evacuate, take your “go bag” and leave immediately. Additionally:
- Protect yourself from strong winds. Move away from windows and seek shelter on the lowest level of an indoor room.
- Do not drive or walk on flooded roads or in water.
- Call 911 if you or someone else is in danger.
- Do not return to the area until local authorities declare it safe.
For more information read how to prepare for the next hurricane.
Here’s how to navigate to the right insurance for hurricane season.
Hurricane insurance for your home
Hurricane insurance for homeowners often requires a combination of types of insurance to cover both wind and water damage. Depending on where you live, you may need two or three insurance policies:
- Home insurance. A reference home insurance The policy only covers certain types of water damage caused by hurricanes, such as wind-driven rain entering through a damaged roof. In most places, home insurance also covers damage caused by wind.
- Flood insurance. Flooding is excluded from a standard home insurance policy. You will need flood insurance to cover damage caused by flooding. You can usually buy a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private flood insurer. Contact your current home insurance agent to see if they can provide you with a quote for an NFIP flood policy.
- Wind insurance. While a standard home insurance policy covers hurricane damage in most states, insurers in some coastal states, such as parts of Texas, may partially or completely exclude damage from windstorms. . You may need to purchase wind insurance as an endorsement to your current home insurance policy, purchase a separate windstorm and hail policy, or obtain wind coverage through the FAIR plan. or Beach in your state.
Hurricane insurance for your vehicles
If your car is damaged during a hurricane, such as flood water damage or flying debris, you will need comprehensive auto insurance in your auto insurance policy to make a claim. Comprehensive coverage also covers auto theft, vandalism, car fires, and collisions with animals.
The nationwide average cost for comprehensive insurance is $ 168 per year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.