Hold on to your hats … Hurricane season is almost here!

By Tom Slater Ready West Point Coordinator, DPTMS

June 6th, 2019 | News, News and Features

Hurricane season is fast approaching. With the 2018 season’s Beryl, Chris and Florence still fresh on the minds of many, the question is: What will 2019 bring? Like dark clouds on the distant horizon, forecasters at all the major weather centers—including the Old Farmer’s Almanac—are predicting an above average 2019 Atlantic hurricane season with 13-16 named storms, including five hurricanes, with three of them expected to be major: a Category 3 or higher.
A typical year, based on weather records that go back to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which six are hurricanes.  What will the “big one” be named, Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin or one of the other 16 storm names for 2019?
Last year, for the season that runs from June 1-Nov. 30, was the third in a consecutive series of above-average and damaging Atlantic hurricane seasons, featuring 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes, which caused a total of over $50.2 billion in damages.
In September of 2018, when Joyce formed, it made 2018 the first season since 2008 to feature four named storms active simultaneously.
Most forecasting groups called for a below-average season due to cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and the anticipated development of an El Nino. However, the anticipated El Nino failed to develop in time to suppress activity, and activity exceeded most predictions.
“The big lesson from hurricanes and other natural disasters is that we have to be thinking about the unexpected because as we so often learn, the unexpected happens. It takes only one big storm to make landfall to make it a bad season for the East coast.” Chris Hennen, West Point Emergency Manager, said. “Hurricane season brings for many a grim reminder of the importance of preparedness, our only defense against nature’s unpredictability.
“As we saw firsthand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline,” Hennen added. “Strong winds, torrential rains, flooding and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall.”
History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters.
By knowing what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane on yourself, your family and your property.
The predictions for this year, coupled with the memory of Sandy in 2012 and last year’s major storms should provide the incentive for members of the West Point community to be ready for the next big storm, and that includes preparing pets as well.
Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked.
Learn more about how you can prepare for hurricane season at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.