Hurricane season begins on June 1st and runs through November 30th, and the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting an above-average hurricane season.
Hurricane season is already a stressful time for Louisiana residents, but the coronavirus is adding an additional level of concern in regards to evacuations, shelters and supplies.
The Farmer’s Almanac predicted:
An above-average hurricane season is predicted. The main reasons for this stronger-than-usual forecast:
Current El Niño climate conditions, which tend to suppress hurricane activity, are predicted to weaken to either a cool neutral El Niño or a weak La Niña during summer or fall. This would likely result in increased storm activity in the Atlantic.
In the tropical Atlantic, sea surface temperatures are slightly above normal, which tends to be associated with stronger storms.
Above-normal probability of major hurricanes striking the U.S. coastline is also predicted.
The initial forecast from Colorado State University gives a 69% chance of a major (Category 3 or greater) hurricane making landfall along the entire coast of the continental U.S., a 45% chance along the East Coast and Florida peninsula, a 44% chance along the Gulf Coast, and a 58% chance in the Caribbean. These probabilities are roughly 15% above the averages for the last century.
The amount of storms predicted is said to be an above average number expected.
Colorado State University extended the range of forecast names to 16 named tropical storms, 8 of which will become hurricanes, and 4 of those being major hurricanes.
The average is 12.1 named tropical storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes.
Major hurricanes are storms reaching at least Category 3 strength in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale), and an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index of 106 units.
For Louisiana the average chance for a landfalling system is about 30%, but with a more active season, that chance goes up to 43%.
Hurricane season comes during the reopening phases of America from COVID, causing complications to not only travel methods to avoid storm paths but also complicates shelter options due to social distancing.
Planning for the expected combination of pandemic and hurricane threats began early in April, when Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered state agencies to outline issues they expected to face and adaptations that needed to be made to existing hurricane preparedness plans, said Casey Tingle, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Updated plans will be posted on the state's hurricane evacuation web site, http://www.getagameplan.org/.
City, parish and state officials also have been checking in with nursing homes and other assisted living facilities to assure they have made state-law-required preparations to bus residents out of the area if necessary.
At the state level, officials are trying to ensure sufficient availability of personal protective equipment, including all those masks and other materials that will be needed for evacuees on buses and in shelters.
“PPE had been part of sheltering planning in the past, but now it will be necessary anytime people are congregating in common areas,” Tingle said.
The state held a comprehensive "tabletop exercise" — a dry run — involving state agencies and local emergency management officials on May 14, where the status of state and local plans for hurricane evacuation and response, including dealing with coronavirus issues, will be reviewed in detail.
In the weeks that follow, local emergency managers will hold on-the ground hurricane evacuation and response exercises, the dates have not been released.
Attorney General Jeff Landry urges residents to use the quarantine as a chance to gather the important documents and supplies needed to ensure you are ready for hurricane season.
Ensuring that you and your family are prepared is a great start to ensuring their safety.
Preparation tends to make tough times more manageable.