As the Caribbean, Florida and the Gulf Coast opens up, many people are thinking about taking a summer vacation. But aside from the ever-present threats from COVID-19 it’s predicted to be a busy hurricane season this year.
WorldAware a global risk management firm, recently released a report on the anticipated impact of hurricanes in the Atlantic this year. The season begins on June 1st and unfortunately they’re predicting a lot of activity.
According to their analysis, “On average, a typical Atlantic hurricane season comprises twelve named storms. Of these storms, about half become hurricanes, three of which reach major hurricane status (Category-3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale). Based on data over the past 40 years, approximately 80 percent of storms form after Aug. 15 with the season peaking in September.
Early season forecasts from NOAA and Colorado State University indicate the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will see higher-than- average tropical activity with 14 to 19 named storms with 7 to 9 storms developing into hurricanes. Of the hurricanes that form, forecasts indicate 2 to 4 will develop into major hurricanes (Category-3 or stronger).”
Complicating the response will of course be the on-going Pandemic. This could impact supply chains meaning there may be less construction materials, fresh water, or canned foods than usually available. And it could even mean that an already stretched FEMA and state and local resources, may not be able to respond as quickly or efficiently as they normally would.
After examining these environmental conditions and reflecting on past seasons that had similar weather patterns, 2020 will likely see an above-average hurricane season as well as a higher- than-normal likelihood of a landfalling hurricane in the US.
Of course, as they note, there could also be a health impact. Hospitals and medical staff are already overworked. A significant storm would cause more chaos. It also has the potential spread the virus. “The measures implemented by governments to stem the spread of COVID-19 could be ignored or lessened should a storm develop, particularly a major hurricane. Social distancing regulations, for example, would be nearly impossible to obey or enforce as large-scale evacuations are coordinated ahead of an anticipated storm landfall.”
All this has to say, we could have a long, hot, storm-filled summer ahead. So when you’re making travel plans please try to add hurricane awareness to your decisions.