The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) believes that this year's hurricane season will be normal. What does this mean? NOAA predicts that 2019 will have a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms. From those, 4 to 8 could become hurricanes, including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger).
Hurricane season began on June 1, 2019. With the hopes of helping people in communities plan for and survive extremely severe weather, the International Code Council has released a Natural Disaster Preparedness Guide. It lists both long term preparation tips as well as what to do when facing immediate danger.
Extreme weather can cause unimaginable damage, as we have seen in recent years. The estimated damages of 2018's hurricane season was over $1 billion. There were two major hurricanes that wreaked havoc in 2018.
On September 1, Tropical Storm Florence formed and began to fluctuate in strength between Sept. 2-Sept. 9. On September 10, Florence was upgraded to a major hurricane and within the day, went from a Category 3 to a Category 4, prompting evacuation orders along the coast South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The storm eventually weakened again. However, on September 14, Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. At least 5 people, including a mother and her infant son, died as the storm slowly moved toward South Carolina. The death toll from the storm was at least 51, including 39 fatalities from North Carolina, 9 from South Carolina, and 3 deaths from Virginia.
The second major hurricane was Michael, which formed as a tropical storm on October 7, 2018. On October 10, Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle as a Category 5 hurricane with winds estimated at 160 mph. Michael is one of only four Category 5 hurricanes to touch down in the U.S. More than one million people, across four states, were left without power due to the storm. The death toll from Michael was 16 fatalities directly caused by the storm. An additional 43 deaths indirectly caused were reported in Florida.
"We have to change our posture towards disasters by getting ahead of the risks we face and not just responding to them," said Dr. Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy Administrator for Resilience at FEMA. "We need an informed and engaged public to take charge of their own preparedness." Dr. Kaniewski also states that strengthening the nation's resilience for disasters is a top FEMA priority.
Dr. Daniel Kaniewski
Hurricane Stats 2018
Natural Disaster Preparedness Guide
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