September marks the mid-point of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The National Hurricane Center now predicts there is a 60% chance of an above-normal season compared to the May prediction of 45% chance. The mid-season outlook predicts:
- 14-19 named storms, an increase from the May predicted range of 11-17
- 2-5 major hurricanes, an increase from the May predicted range of 2-4
- 5-9 hurricanes, remains unchanged from the initial May outlook
There have been nine named storms and two tropical formations during the first half of the 2017 season:
- Tropical Storm Arlene April 19-21
- Tropical Storm Bret June 19-20
- Tropical Storm Cindy June 20-23
- Tropical Depression Four July 6-7
- Tropical Storm Don July 17-18
- Tropical Storm Emily July 31-August 2
- Hurricane Franklin August 6-10
- Hurricane Gert August 12-17
- Tropical Storm Harvey August 17-30
- Tropical Cyclone Ten August 27-29
- Hurricane Irma August 30-TBD
Three of the named storms have made a U.S. landfall. Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in Louisiana very close to the Texas border. Tropical Storm Emily made landfall in Florida near Tampa Bay. Each storm brought heavy rains to the region and minor coastal flooding.
Hurricane Harvey made its first U.S. landfall along the Gulf Coast of Texas on August 25 as a Category 4 storm with winds near 135 MPH, up to 12-feet of storm surge, and over 50-inches of torrential rains. Harvey then made a second landfall near the Texas and Louisiana border on August 30 as a Tropical Storm.
At the time of this report, the full impacts of Hurricane Harvey are still not fully known. FEMA is estimating in excess of $40 billion in total losses to as many as 300,000 buildings and structures as a result of flooding, wind, and wind-borne debris. This unfortunate event is both catastrophic and immense.
Two upcoming events have been schedule with a focus on natural disaster awareness, planning, and recovery. On September 13, Field Representative Bryan Holland will give a one-hour presentation on NEMA’s Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment Guidelines for the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). More details on the webinar can be found HERE. On October 25-27, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) will hold its annual Natural Disaster Resiliency Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The three-day event will bring together the nation’s foremost voices in the disaster safety and resilience movement. More details of the conference can be found HERE.
As we have learned from the tragic events unfolding in Texas, we are reminded that it only takes one landfall to result in sheer devastation to the communities in the path of the storm. With half of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season still ahead of us, the time is now to get prepared, establish a plan, and stay informed.