June 1st marks the beginning of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Overall activity in the Atlantic basin in 2017 was well above average with 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes. This compares to the long-term averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. One unnamed tropical depression also formed in 2017.
In terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), which measures the combined strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes, the 2017 season was the most active since 2005 and the 7th most active on record. In terms of cost, the 2017 season was the most expensive on record with $202.6 billion in damage in the U.S. and $369.6 billion in damage worldwide.
For 2018, the National Hurricane Center is predicting a “near normal” hurricane season with approximately 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes. However, it only takes one landfall to have catastrophic consequences to electrical systems and equipment.
The NEMA Field Representatives are reaching out to our contacts in the electrical and emergency management industries to remind them that NEMA has many programs in place to assist communities before, during, and after the storm. We are providing information and guidance on related NEMA programs, NEC topics, and NEMA member products that will help save lives and property.
Land-falling hurricanes bring flooding, storm surge, and lightning so our focus will be on NEMA’s Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment guidelines and NEMA’s Surge Protection Institute. As a storm approaches, NEMA will activate the “Natural Disaster Standard Operating Procedures” to ensure the outreach and actions of the NEMA Field Representatives, NEMA Communications Team, and Electrical Safety Foundation International are properly coordinated.
Below is the official 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. The National Hurricane Center will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic Hurricane Season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.