The Devastation in Oklahoma and the Start of the Hurricane Season

Over the past couple weeks the Midwest has been devastated by tornadoes and storms. From May 18 to May 20, an estimated 76 tornadoes struck across 10 different states. The damage caused by these storms was both physical and psychological. These tornadoes caused the death of 24 people and approximately $2-5 billion in insured losses, coming in as the second worst ever in terms of monetary damage behind only the tornadoes that occurred in late April of 2011. The replacement value of some 13,000 properties damaged by one EF-5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma came in at more than $2 billion.

Although these numbers are certainly staggering, the effects of the storms resonate in more ways than just financial. As we move our way into the official beginning of the hurricane season, the peace of mind of many is compromised as they look at the damage done by natural disasters in Oklahoma and wonder what’s next.

This week, May 26th-June 1, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week and if the severity of the natural disasters ravaging the Midwest are any indication of the type of storms the Northeast may see, it’s time to seriously analyze your hurricane and flood protection. The hurricane season begins June 1st and unfortunately for the Atlantic coast, experts at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration estimate a 70% chance of 13 to 20 named storms throughout the season. A named storm is anything classified above wind speeds of 39 mph. Of these 13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 are predicted to be hurricanes (wind speeds of 74 mph and above) including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph and above).

To put this in perspective, the seasonal average is 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes and this season we expect a bare minimum of 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. The season, which spans over the next 6 months and reaches a peak in mid-August to late October, certainly seems as if it may be one of the more active to date.

The dangers to life and property that are inherent with hurricanes include storm surges, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. Storm surges, the abnormal rise of sea water, are among the more hazardous consequences of a hurricane and often lead to damaging floods that can ruin property.

There are a few important steps to take that can alleviate potential damages done by hurricanes and other severe storms. An emergency plan and disaster kit are the first things recommended by FEMA. A sample emergency plan can be downloaded straight from the FEMA website here and the suggested components of this disaster kit can also be found on the FEMA website here.

As we jump into the official beginning of what is predicted to be a rigorous and stressful hurricane season be sure to stay safe and if you are unsure about any of your coverage, feel free to call either of our offices in Bourne or Falmouth at 800.800.8990.

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