The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast earlier this year and has recently updated it. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, which means we are currently in peak hurricane season.
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In May, NOAA forecast that there would be 13 – 20 named storms and 6-10 hurricanes in 2021. There is, according to the NOAA data a 65% chance of an above-average Atlantic Hurricane Season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. Contributing factors include La Nina conditions, enhanced West African Monsoons and warmer than average sea surface temperatures. As of August 23, there have been eight depressions, eight total storms, three hurricanes and 1 major hurricane (Category 3+) resulting in more than 35 fatalities and damages that exceed $1.536 billion (USD).
Hurricanes and Tropical storms can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed 155 miles per hour and can also spawn tornadoes and microbursts, create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall and flooding.
All we have to do is to look back to Hurricane Sandy to get perspective on the catastrophic impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes. According to the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York, Inc. (BOMA/NY) “Hurricane Sandy Lessons Learned Report”, noted the following:
These results beg the question for building owners and managers if their organizations could sustain outages for multiple days? Planning and preparing is critical in order to withstand the impacts of a hurricane. Take time to properly evaluate your risks and prepare your facilities ahead of time.
All 13 ways mentioned are imperative and can help alleviate complications during a hurricane. However, step 13; “Knowing your risk” is a common step that many organizations wish they paid attention to in more detail after a hurricane strike.
It is critical that you know your risk and your insurance programs are tailored to best fit your company’s needs on both a pre and post loss basis. Communicate with your broker, and make sure that they understand both operational resilience and real estate as well as that they can handle complex claims.
One of the main lessons learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic is that we have an obligation to ensure that we take care of our employees and their extended families. It is important to provide hurricane preparedness information and resources to the workforce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published some good advice and resources that help people safely prepare, evacuate and shelter from severe storms. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/covid-19/prepare-for-hurricane.html for important hurricane preparedness tips such as:
Hurricanes pose a serious threat and the worst time to prepare for a hurricane is when it is a few days away from impact. With hurricane season among us, use these 13 steps and the CDC advice so your organization and workforce can be prepared to sustain outages for multiple days.
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