Every year between the months of June and November, tropical storms strengthen over the equator’s warm waters and the Atlantic braces for hurricane season. Storm surges, relentless rain, and brutal winds batter the coastline leaving wakes of destruction behind. From catastrophic property damage to death, the true power of a hurricane is demonstrated when it makes landfall.
North and South Carolina witnessed this as Hurricane Florence swept across the coast this month causing record-breaking flooding and 32 deaths. However, 2018 is forecasted to be “below-average” in terms of hurricane activity according to Colorado State University’s annual hurricane forecast summary on The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Currently, the chances of a Category 3 or higher hurricane making landfall along different points of the East Coast are predicted to be at least 10% below the average for the last century.
So what does an “above-average” hurricane season look like? In June of last year, CSU anticipated that, due to the high sea surface temperate and low level of vertical wind shear, 2017 was going to produce highly active tropical storms. A few months later, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria ripped across the Atlantic and proved their predictions to be true. These storms wreaked havoc for many and created chaos in the shipping industry during the already busy harvest season.
Hurricanes take a few days to form and strengthen at sea, so there’s time to prepare. Be sure to check the National Hurricane Center for tropical weather outlooks as new updates arise.
For more information on what to do after a hurricane, read Hurricane Recovery for Farmers.