June 1st marks the beginning of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Overall activity in the Atlantic basin in 2018 was about average with 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. This compares to the long-term averages of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.
In 2018, Tropical Storm Alberto reached winds of 65 MPH and resulted in $125 million in damages. Hurricane Beryl reached winds of 80 MPH and resulted in less than $50 million in damages. Major Hurricane Florence reached winds of 140 MPH and resulted in $20 billion in damages. Tropical Storm Gordon reached winds of 70 MPH and resulted in $250 million in damages. Major Hurricane Michael reached winds of 160 MPH and resulted in over $25 billion in damages. A detailed map showing the track of all 15 named storms during the 2018 season can be reviewed HERE.
For 2019, the National Hurricane Center is predicting a “near normal” hurricane season with approximately 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 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 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook issued by Colorado State University and The Weather Channel. 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.