Hurricane season begins
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a near normal Atlantic hurricane season this year.
NOAA’s Prediction Center is predicting nine to 15 named storms with winds 39 mph or higher. Of those, four to eight would become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including two to four that are major hurricanes which are category three to five.
A lot of factors go into the prediction, forecasters say, including a weak El Nino pattern which is a combination of warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and a enhanced west African monsoon, according to NOAA’s website.
While the season is just beginning there has already been a subtropical storm, Andrea. The storm popped up south of Bermuda, then quickly weakened and dissipated.
Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Lake Charles said this area is a common place for weak systems to develop at this time of the year. In fact, there is currently an area of low pressure over the Yucatan Peninsula predicted to move westward over the Bay of Campeche during the weekend. The National Hurricane Center gives this a 20 percent chance for tropical development.
Be prepared — insurance
The Insurance Council of Texas advises homeowners to be prepared now and not wait until the peak of the season, which is usually in September. Hurricanes can and do form earlier — “In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison came ashore and stalled over Houston, dropping 40 inches of rain resulting in floodwaters that submerged thousands of homes and caused major damage to the Texas Medical Center and downtown businesses” — according to information from the Insurance Council.
The hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Here are a few tips:
- Homeowners should act now and take steps to protect their lives and property by preparing an evacuation plan, having an emergency safety kit, and conducting a home inventory.
- An evacuation plan is a life-saving action that allows family members to know what role they play in getting out of harm’s way. If advised to evacuate, every plan includes how you will leave and where you will go.
- An emergency safety kit is an essential item with every evacuation plan. This kit contains non-perishable food, water, prescriptions, important documents including your insurance, cell phones and chargers, cash, toiletries and clothing. Pets require a similar kit.
- Recording all of your personal property with photos or video and securing this information away from your home becomes invaluable when filing a claim.
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