Tropical Storm Claudette expected to form Friday as hurricane season gets off to a busy start

Tropical Storm Claudette expected to form Friday as hurricane season gets off to a busy start

Forecasters predict the third named storm of this year’s nascent hurricane season will form later this week over the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the potential for torrential rains to the US coast.

There is a 70 percent chance that the low-pressure area and thunderstorms currently in the Bay of Campeche in southern Mexico will strengthen into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours, the Center said. Hurricane National on their website. If so, the storm will be called Tropical Storm Claudette.

Hurricane season began June 1 and the National Hurricane Center has already tracked three storms, a rarity for this time of year and a possible indication of things to come. Forecasters have warned they expect an above-average Atlantic hurricane season.

We expect a range of 13 to 20 named storms, systems that at least reach tropical storm strength, Michael Brennan, chief of the Hurricane Specialists Unit at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told Yahoo News.

Six to ten of them are expected to be hurricanes and at least three to five of them will become major hurricanes, he added.

Emergency professionals were especially busy in 2020. With the nation primarily focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the US experienced the worst hurricane season since 2005, with 14 hurricanes killing more than 400 people and causing more damage. of $ 51 billion.

Like many organizations across the country, Brennan said, thanks to the pandemic, the NHC continues to work in a hybrid capacity. But the agency has made sure to have dispersed staff to minimize the amount of travel needed in an emergency.

In the immediate aftermath of a year like 2020, where nearly every inch of the U.S. coastline from Texas to Maine, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, was affected in some way, shape, or form by at least one tropical storm. or hurricane for the last time. year, people should be pretty new to it, realizing there’s a lot of vulnerability, he said. This is the time of year, early in the season, in which we are now, to analyze your risk.

When it comes to deciding which communities to evacuate due to a particular storm, the National Hurricane Center will draw on a strengthened technological capability to help assess risk.

Continually improving satellites, for example, and trying to do more with resonance jets that can fly directly into the storm and directly measure winds, structure, pressure and other data, Brennan said.

Those improvements, he said, could save millions of dollars in evacuation efforts and headaches for those whose areas will not be seriously affected by a storm.

While studies have shown that hurricanes are becoming more powerful thanks to climate change, the forecast for where those storms will hit has continued to improve.

Now, the National Hurricane Center with its new products has been able to identify that and it’s a fraction, Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told Yahoo News.

Guthrie took the helm of FDEM in May. As the number of new COVID-19 cases is declining across the country, you’ll need to make sure your state is prepared for another deadly threat.

We have to be flexible, we have to be adaptable, we have to be able to manage two or three different disasters at the same time, Guthrie said. Certainly COVID and last year’s pandemic, hurricane season brought that to the forefront.

Before a hurricane hits, Guthrie said, residents can do themselves a big favor by checking their insurance policies. In addition to protecting personal safety, he said, the first line of defense is to make sure a home is covered from potential damage.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in some cases a picture could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

Hurricane Laura, for example, was the costliest weather event in the US in 2020, causing $ 19 billion in damage and the death of 42 people. A Category 4 storm that made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, Laura resulted in 130,000 claims filed for loss of residential property.

Guthrie advised people to take pictures of their property before and after a storm to illustrate the extent of the damage and help document an insurance claim.

No matter where you are in the United States, if you qualify for all the programs FEMA has to offer, you will receive a check from them for about $ 35,000 to $ 36,000, Guthrie said. The average payment to a Floridian in the last 10 years is $ 4,000. I don’t care if you’re in Florida or California, Colorado or New York. You’re not going to rebuild a house for $ 36,000 … much less $ 4,000.

Dan Halyburton, an emergency response volunteer for the Red Cross, and his wife contracted COVID-19 last year. But Halyburton recovered in time to help respond to Hurricane Laura, which devastated parts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

They called when Hurricane Laura hit and said, “So what do you think?” And I said, “Well, I have to go. Someone has to go; he is not going to fix himself.”

Ironically, the pandemic offered a silver lining when it came to helping hurricane victims.

The interesting thing that was happening during the height of the pandemic is that no one was traveling, Halyburton said. Most of the hotels were empty. So we were able to provide refuge hotel stays for many people, and that certainly provided a much higher degree of security.

Red Cross volunteers who came to help victims of Hurricane Laura experienced a low incidence of COVID-19 infection, Halyburton said. The greatest danger to storm survivors, he said, came from the need to generate electricity.

Most of the deaths during Laura were attributed to improper use of generators, Halyburton said. With more than 600,000 homes without power in the three states, many of them were in use.

As the NHC continues to monitor more oncoming storms, including a disturbance off the coast of Africa, Brennan encourages Americans to pay attention to this hurricane season as well.

It’s about planning ahead, knowing what your risk is, and having that plan in place so that when a storm hits, you can put the plan into action, he said.

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