Hurricane Season at Halftime: What Do Forecasters Predict for the Atlantic?

Does a quiet July indicate a mild season overall? Not so fast!

Since the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1st, the U.S. coastline and Gulf Coast have been quiet. According to the Tropical Weather and Climate Research team at Colorado State University (CSU), the three named storms that have developed so far accounted for less than half the average the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) typically observed by this point in the hurricane season. In other words, there has been activity, but so far it’s been considerably weaker than in previous years.

So if the Atlantic is quiet during June and July, does that mean that the U.S. can expect a relatively mild hurricane season? According to experts, the answer to that question is a big “no.” In fact, as of its updated July forecast, the team at CSU, headed by Philip J. Klotzbach, has increased its prediction for this year’s hurricane activity and persists in forecasting a “well above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season.”

CSU’s forecast released on July 7th predicted increases across every metric. The new report predicts 20 named storms including 10 hurricanes with 5 classified as major hurricanes (Category 3-5). In addition, this forecast estimates the probability of a major hurricane landfall on the entire U.S. coastline as 75 percent, the U.S. East Coast (including the Florida peninsula) as 50 percent, and the Gulf Coast as 49 percent. As a comparison, the averages for the last century are 52 percent for the entire U.S. coastline, 31 percent for the U.S. East Coast, and 30 percent for the Gulf Coast.

One additional prediction to note is the CSU team’s estimation of a 64 percent probability of at least one major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean after July 6th. That estimate is over 20 percent higher than the full-season average for the last century.

If the Atlantic hurricane season can be thought of as a two-part story – June/July and August/September – historical data demonstrates that the most intense action typically occurs in Chapter 2. With the ongoing trend of increased severity and frequency in catastrophic weather events, it’s even more important for commercial property owners to enact preparedness measures before the clouds roll in. Here are specific suggestions to help business owners prepare for severe weather:

  • Develop an emergency plan for severe weather events.
  • Provide ongoing training to ensure staff are familiar with the plan.
  • Assemble a list of important contact information and documents to store in a secure location with a copy stored on your cell phone.
  • Contact your insurance agent to conduct a detailed policy review and ensure appropriate coverages are in place.
  • Perform maintenance tasks that can help minimize property damage in the event of severe weather.
  • Secure priority response with vendors and contractors in your area in the event of catastrophic damage.
  • Maintain an electronic record of customer contact data in order to facilitate storm-related communications.

MiniCo specializes in addressing property and liability exposures for businesses in a wide range of industries. We offer insurance programs including a wind/hail deductible buyback solution for commercial properties in challenging geographic locations. Contact us to learn more.

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