Summer officially began on Sunday night. (At 8:32 p.m. Pacific time, for those of you keeping score at home.)
For many, summer is their favorite season of the year. Kids are out of school. The weather ranges from warm to hot. Outdoor activities are in full swing.
It’s refreshing to once again walk out the front door without having to grab a jacket, right? In fact, winter now seems like a distant memory.
But unfortunately, another season is also underway. The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and continues through November 30. Even though the last one ended over six months ago, the memories don’t seem so distant. They’re still far too vivid.
That’s because the 2020 hurricane season – like a lot of things last year – was one for the record books. There were 30 named storms, with 14 of them developing into hurricanes. Six became major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
Among the strongest hurricanes to reach our shores in 2020 were Laura, Sally and Delta. Category 4 Laura made landfall in Louisiana in late August. It caused more than two dozen deaths. And approximately $10 billion in damages.
Sally rolled in a few weeks later. It was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since 2004. Several tornadoes were spawned by the Category 2 storm. Damage totals were at least $8 billion.
In October, Hurricane Delta was the third Category 4 storm of the year. Delta made landfall in Louisiana. This hurricane killed six people.
And, of course, the common denominator with these storms was power outages.
Will It Be Another Active Hurricane Season?
You may be thinking, “Well, that was 2020 when everything went wrong. There’s no way we’ll have a repeat this year.”
You may be right. It’s unusual to have two record-setting years back-to-back. But here’s the problem. If this season is even close to last year’s, we’re in trouble. It will mean power outages, food supply disruptions and water contamination issues.
What does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say about it? They predict a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season for hurricanes. And a 30 percent chance of a normal season. When it comes to hurricanes, normal is not good.
If forecasters are correct, 2021 will be the sixth consecutive year we’ve experienced an above-average hurricane season. Notice a trend here?
AccuWeather is predicting 16 to 20 named storms for this year’s hurricane season. The average is 12.
They base their predictions on a variety of factors. Such as atmospheric conditions and ocean temperatures. They also predict seven to 10 hurricanes. With three to five becoming major.
The Colorado State University weather team calls for 17 named storms in 2021. Including eight hurricanes, with four becoming major.
Gina Raimondo is the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. She says, “Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring.”
As of this writing, one named storm (Ana) has formed this season. Other storm names you’ll probably be hearing in the near future include Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace and Henri.
Depending on how many named storms we get this year, they’ll be followed by Ida, Julian and Kate. Plus Larry, Mindy, Nicholas and Odette. As well as Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.
Unfortunately, some of those names may end up living in infamy. That’s if they cause the kind of destruction associated with names such as Katrina and Sandy.
We can pray that this year’s hurricane season will not be as active as the previous ones. But along with those prayers should come preparation.
Nobody can stop a force of nature as devastating as a hurricane. But there are some things you can do to prepare. And if you do them, you’ll be in a much better position to deal with these and other types of storms.
Here are a few tips from Ready.gov regarding preparing for the inevitable storms that will come this year.
- Understand the risk for a hurricane in your area.
- Know your evacuation zone.
- Learn how to recognize extreme weather warnings and alerts.
- Review your important documents, including insurance policies.
- Strengthen your home against a hurricane. Including de-cluttering drains and gutters, and installing hurricane shutters.
- Bring in outside furniture.
- Gather supplies in advance. Such as food and water, and medications. Plus flashlights and an emergency weather radio. As well as disinfectant supplies and a fully-stocked bug-out bag.
In addition to food and water, one of the most important items to have year-round – and especially during hurricane season – is a solar-powered generator.
Now, the larger your generator and the more it can power, the better. Some folks have spent tens of thousands of dollars for full-home solutions to power outages.
But if you want something much more affordable that can power your most important items during blackouts, I’ve got a great solution for you. It’s called the Patriot Power Sidekick.
This new mini generator has a built-in solar panel that lets you charge it with the free power of the sun. It weighs only eight pounds but it can charge your cellphone and laptop. And keep medical devices running and turn on lights.
Best of all, it’s safe to use inside because it’s fume-free and never needs gasoline. And it’s so quiet, you can sleep with it running right next to your bed.