2014 Hurricane Predictions – Make Your Communication Plan Now
From the first of June to the end of November Atlantic coastal dwellers pay close attention to their local weather channels. eastern Pacific season begins May 15th and Atlantic season begins June 1st, so now is the time to get ready. Anyone who has been through a hurricane will tell you, you don’t want to wait until the sky darkens to gather supplies! So what are the experts predicting for this year? So far – quiet.
But what does “quiet” mean? Forecasters from Colorado State University recently released their predictions for nine tropical storms and only three hurricanes. While this sounds like great news, it’s important to keep these forecasts in context. First, experts have wildly missed the mark on predictions the last two years. Last year they predicted nine hurricanes, and only two formed. However, the year before we saw twice as many hurricanes as predicted. This year’s quiet hurricane forecast is due to El Niño, a weather phenomenon where warmer than normal water in the tropical Pacific Ocean suppresses Atlantic hurricanes.
Since 1950, the United States season averages 12 tropical storms and seven hurricanes in a season. When it comes to preparedness, keep in mind that the number of hurricanes doesn’t really matter. It only takes one hurricane to destroy a house, and neighborhood, or an entire city. And, even mild tropical storms can be damaging and disruptive. The next two weeks are a good time to go over your hurricane preparedness plan, your communication strategy, and to check and replenish supplies.
The first things to think about is your communication plan. Be sure you have a list of local contacts that include:
- Local Emergency Management Office
- County Law Enforcement
- County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
- State, County and City/Town Government
- Local Hospitals
- Local Utilities
- Local American Red Cross
- Local TV Stations
- Local Radio Stations
- Your Property Insurance Agent
Also consider how you will stay in touch with friends and family during the threat or aftermath of a hurricane. Consider creating an emergency communication Facebook page or Twitter account where you can quickly and easily let people know that you’re safe. The Red Cross also has a new Safe and Well website where you can register as “safe and well” in order to let friends and family know your okay after disaster. If you haven’t already, download their free Hurricane app. This powerful app since push notifications, including real-time alerts for hurricanes in your area, allows you to see the predicted path of hurricanes and features an “I’m Safe” button that broadcasts to your preset email contacts and social media channels. Once again, in a disaster when cellular service is spotty, data goes through more quickly and reliably than phone calls. It’s easier to spread the word with one post on social media than it is to make a dozen phone calls.
Check back in our next post as we give you an update on recommended emergency supplies for those in a hurricane zone.