The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is underway, and it’s shaping up to be another bad one. Homeowners and businesses should make sure they’re prepared for the worst.
Hurricane Season Predictions and Trends
The 2020 hurricane season was especially active. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 30 named storms, a record. Of those storms, 11 made landfall in the continental United States, 14 became hurricanes, and seven became major hurricanes.
The 2021 hurricane season got an early start with Ana, a named storm that formed in May. According to Bloomberg, this is seventh year in a row when named tropical systems have formed before June 1, what’s supposed to be the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center expects this to be another above-normal hurricane season. We’re expected to see 13 to 20 named storms, including six to 10 hurricanes.
Prepare Your Business and Home
You might not get a lot of warning before a hurricane hits, so it’s important to prepare ahead of time to keep both people and property safe.
- Trim your trees and remove other hazards that could cause damage during a hurricane.
- Remove debris from gutters and drains.
- Get your emergency supplies ready. See Ready.gov for information on how to build an emergency supply kit.
- Get boards, nails, sandbags and other items ready to fortify your property if a storm hits.
- Consider installing storm shutters for extra protection. Other property improvements might include upgrading to hurricane proof doors and sealing any openings in your walls or roof. See the IBHS FORTIFIED Standards for building codes that are designed to better withstand natural disasters.
Get Ready for a Storm
If a storm is about to hit, you’ll need to take quick action.
- Be ready to turn off utilities and propane tanks. Make sure you know what needs to be turned off, and how to do it.
- Fill up your bathtub and containers with water.
- Secure your belongings. If items outside could be a hazard in high winds, move them inside or secure them. Also take steps to protect important files, equipment and other items that you don’t want damaged in the storm.
- Gather important documents, including proof of insurance, so you’ll have them if you need them.
- Listen for information. Get a battery-operated radio – and plenty of batteries – in case the power goes out.
Be Ready to Evacuate
If a storm comes your way, you may need to evacuate fast. Make sure you’re ready.
- Plan your evacuation routes. Have at least two routes in case one is unsafe.
- Get your car ready. You don’t want to be running on empty when it’s time to leave, so keep a full tank. Have your car checked out by a mechanic, and keep emergency supplies in your car. Ready.gov has more information on car safety.
- Know where you’re going. Possibilities include shelters and hotels, or staying with friends and family.
- Plan how to stay in touch. Communication can be tricky during a hurricane. Both families and businesses should consider how they’ll communicate during a hurricane. Have emergency numbers on hand, in case contacts in your mobile phone are not accessible.
Don’t Forget about COVID
If you have to evacuate, you may need to spend time in a shelter, and that could expose you to COVID-19. The CDC recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Include masks and hand sanitizer in your emergency supplies.
Also, some emergency shelter operations may be impacted by the pandemic, so double check the plans in your area.
Watch Out for Others
If you know anyone who is elderly or has special needs, make sure that they are prepared for a hurricane. Check in and see if there’s anything they need help with.
And don’t forget about your pets. If you have to evacuate, make sure you’re ready to take your pets with you. You’ll need food and other supplies for them. You’ll also need to make sure your destination is pet-friendly.
Prepare for Business Interruption
Businesses should have disaster plans. For example, what steps need to be taken if the business has to close? How will communication occur? Who will be in charge of various tasks? How will recovery and return to work occur after the hurricane? See the Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit for detailed guidance.
Employees should find out company policies regarding disasters. For example, how can they find out if the business is closing because of a hurricane? Who should they contact?
Check Your Insurance
Don’t wait until a hurricane forms. Check your insurance now.
- Are your property limits high enough to cover the cost to rebuild? Building costs have increased recently, so check your limits.
- Do you need separate flood insurance? Flood damage is not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy.
- Do you have adequate business interruption coverage?
- Have you conducted an inventory recently? If you need to file a claim, this will make the process easier.
The team at BNC Insurance is here to assist. Contact us if you have any questions or if you’d like to review your insurance.