NOAA predicts high chance of above-normal hurricane season for 2021

Hurricane Laura is the one of the strongest hurricanes on record to make landfall in Louisiana. It was a Category 4 storm that caused $19.1 billion in damages and caused the deaths of 42 people.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tracks storms and makes landfall and storm strength predictions, forecasting a 60 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 30 percent chance of a near normal season, and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season.

While this may not come as good news to people who live along the Gulf Coast, experts do not anticipate a historic level of storm activity as was seen in 2020.

Based on statistics used to make these determinations, NOAA predicts there will be 14 named storms, seven of which may be hurricanes and three may be major hurricanes.

“For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70 percent confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30,” the NOAA report reads.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

With hurricane season starting next Tuesday, June 1, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said now is the time to begin working on storm provisions.

“With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household. Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”   

How to prepare

  1. Know your hurricane risk – Coastal residents are not the only ones impacted by a storm. Rain, water, wind, water and tornadoes can happen far inland.
  2. Make an emergency plan – Visit ready.gov to download a checklist of items you will need to weather a storm. Emergency management chiefs suggest that people have enough food, water and supplies to survive for several days until resources can be mobilized. Be sure to include items for your pets, livestock and other animals. Check on elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they have an ample amount of food, water and medicines.
  3. Not everyone who is impacted by a hurricane is required to evacuate. Liberty County is a pass-through county with no emergency shelters for residents in neighboring counties. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may still need to evacuate. If you are impacted by the threat of rising water or flash flooding, you should learn evacuation routes and communicate your plans with family and friends.
  4. If you evacuate, take with you all important documents, such as vital records, insurance policies and personal documents. Consider making copies of these items and storing them on your cloud storage. Photos can also be uploaded to cloud storage to prevent losing them in a catastrophe.
  5. Stay ready. If you know a storm is imminent and may be a threat to your home or business, be sure to charge all your electrical devices, such as phones and tablets. Also consider purchasing backup battery chargers.
  6. Try to prevent damage through responsible maintenance. Clean out gutters and storm drains, tie down items that may blow away such as trampolines and deck umbrellas.
  7. Make sure your home and auto insurance policies updated. Check with your insurance agent to make sure the amount of coverage will pay for your losses in the event of a catastrophic hurricane event. Do not let your policy lapse. Once a storm enters the Gulf, it’s too late to purchase an insurance policy.

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