Are You Prepared for a Bad Hurricane Season?

Are You Prepared for a Bad Hurricane Season?

Hurricane Ike in 2008.  Credit:  NOAA

Hurricane Ike in 2008. Credit: NOAA

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center this week said the hurricane outlook for the Atlantic Basin this year is for an “active to extremely active” season.  While it’s always important to be prepared with a plan for how to deal with severe weather — not only at sea but while moored — the prospect of a worse-than-average year should provide the impetus for getting that plan firmed up as quickly as possible.

One of the best ways to protect your boat (in most circumstances), is to haul it out of the water. But haulouts are not cheap and the key to this tactic is to commit to it soon enough that you actually have time to get it hauled and properly blocked and secured. Since hurricane damage varies dramatically depending on the exact final path of the storm, sometimes a haulout can feel like money unnecessarily spent. So, one question is, will your insurance company cover all or part of the cost of such a “precautionary haulout?”

We’ve put together our first-ever poll here on OceanLines and we’d like to know what your insurance policy will cover, assuming you’re in an area potentially exposed to this kind of severe weather.  Please take the poll — it’s over in the right sidebar and only takes a couple of clicks, unless you want to give us a detailed answer. You can see the results t0-date, and you can share the poll link with others.  The more we get, the better our information base will be.

In the meantime, here’s some of the key info from the CPC announcement today.  The rest of it is at this link.

“Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of the following ranges:

  • 14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

The outlook ranges exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Expected factors supporting this outlook are:

Upper atmospheric winds conducive for storms. Wind shear, which can tear apart storms, will be weaker since El Niño in the eastern Pacific has dissipated. Strong wind shear helped suppress storm development during the 2009 hurricane season.
Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures are expected to remain above average where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic. Record warm temperatures – up to four degrees Fahrenheit above average – are now present in this region.

High activity era continues. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in sync, leading to more active hurricane seasons. Eight of the last 15 seasons rank in the top ten for the most named storms with 2005 in first place with 28 named storms.”

Lastly, we’re working on a series of articles about insuring your trawler or cruiser or sailboat and we’d like to know what questions or concerns you have about boat insurance. Please leave us those in the comments and we’ll try to include the answers we dig up in the articles.

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Posted by Tom in Environment & Weather, Legal & Insurance, seamanship