WASHINGTON—If you live or farm along the East Coast, the chances for a tropical storm or hurricane just increased, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In May, the government’s climate prediction center said this season had a 30% chance for above-normal activity. But now the center’s lead forecaster, Dr. Gerry Bell, said that has changed.
“Current and predicted oceanic and atmospheric conditions now indicate a higher likelihood—a 45% chance—of an above-normal hurricane season and a reduced likelihood—a 20% chance—of below-normal activity,” Bell explained.
He is forecasting 10 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine could be hurricanes, and two to four could be major hurricanes.
“On top of that, some of those named hurricanes and major hurricanes could be longer and stronger than predicted in May,” Bell added. Atmospheric wind patterns are expected to be more hospitable to storm formation.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the devastating hurricanes of 2017 and 2018 underscore the vulnerability of the nation’s commercial structures to severe wind and cataclysmic flooding. The institute also emphasized the importance of reducing damage.
“It’s really important that commercial buildings, farms and homes are able to withstand storms,” said Scott DeNoon, farm product and underwriting manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., which is an IBHS member. “Always take all the steps you can before a storm is coming to prepare your structures and your property. The earlier you can prepare, the better. Seek out tips and advice from great sources like IBHS.”
The IBHS recently hosted a symposium that included perspectives from business and insurance representatives and provided detailed assessments from several field deployments. A report from the symposium is available at ibhs.org/events/commercial-symposium-hurricane-spring-2019.
Media: Contact Sara Owens
, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.