The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is officially upon us and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that 2021 will be another above-normal season. Last year produced the most storms on record, with 30 named storms, 13 of which became hurricanes and was the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal hurricane season, (Hurricane Laura alone caused $19 billion in damages).
While NOAA doesn’t anticipate another historic year in 2021, here’s what they do expect to happen from June 1st through November 30th: “A likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).” Even a slow-moving tropical storm can become a threat: “[They] can produce 10 or 15 inches of rain over a big area and produce a lot of inland flooding,” said Gerry Bell, PhD, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a conference call (MP3) with reporters.
The most important items to have on hand for a hurricane are the things that will help you communicate with the outside world, find your way in the dark, and protect your belongings. “Be prepared for some primitive living without power for a while,” said Claudette Reichel, a building science specialist at Louisiana State University who trains housing professionals on disaster resilience as well as on hurricane and flood recovery.