Rock Talk

Hurricane safety tips and the upcoming hurricane season

Last updated on January 28th, 2019 at 03:58 pm

Storm-wise at least, Massachusetts was fortunate last year: Hurricane Sandy spared us the worst of its wrath while devastating areas of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut instead.

The 2013 hurricane season has officially started and meteorologists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center warn that we could be in for a rough time of it.

Batten down the hurricane hatches. NOAA’s forecasting an “active” or “extremely active” hurricane season ahead, with a 70 percent chance of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of that bunch, seven to 11 could turn into hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), and three to six into Category 3, 4 or 5 major hurricanes (with winds of 111 mph or higher) —well above the typical average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Are you inland? You’re not off the hook: tropical storms and hurricanes can carry powerful weather systems with strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes to areas far from the coast.

Evil trifecta. Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce a rough 2013 hurricane season:

  • Stuck in a bad pattern. The atmospheric climate pattern, including African monsoons, is to blame for almost non-stop Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995.
  • Warmer water. Tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea waters are warmer than average.
  • El Niño is a no-go. This storm system isn’t expected to develop this year. It usually suppresses hurricanes from forming.

Keep calm and prepare on. We checked out Ready.gov for you, and found 3 things we can do now to prepare for hurricanes and other serious storms:

  1. Get started. Go to Ready.gov/hurricanes. Make an emergency plan with your family that includes how you’ll contact and communicate with each other during and after a storm. Put together an emergency kit now, and avoid pre-storm panic-buying crowds.
  2. Wireless Emergency Alerts Wireless Emergency Alerts(WEAs) are emergency messages sent by authorities through your mobile carrier to notify you of extreme weather, AMBER Alerts and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency. If you have a WEA-enabled phone, you will automatically receive WEAs, which are similar to texts but have their own unique tone and vibration. Check with your wireless carrier
  3. Get hurricane safety tips via text. Text HURRICANE to 43362 (4FEMA) to get hurricane-related safety tips from FEMA every two weeks. Don’t like getting random texts? Try FEMA’s smartphone app instead, and stay a step ahead. 

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