Many Texans are still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, including severe flooding and wind damage losses. Unfortunately, the weather conditions that brought three major hurricanes to land in the United States in 2017 are expected to continue this summer. Attorney Bill Voss explores 2018 hurricane predictions and advises residents and property owners on ways to protect themselves from further hurricane losses.
Dangerous Weather Ahead in the 2018 Hurricane Season
Last year, three hurricanes made history when they made landfall in the U.S. When the debris settled and waters receded, Harvey, Irma, and Maria were ranked among the top five costliest storms in America’s history. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, a major factor in hurricane formations, were near record high levels during 2017—and are still currently warmer than average. If they continue to rise, the hurricane season, stretching from June through November 2018, may be just as busy as last year.
Colorado State University, which issues a seasonal hurricane forecast for the Atlantic region each spring, recently released early predictions for the 2018 hurricane season:
- Forecasters say they expect 14 named storms in the 2018 season, slightly above the national average of 12 named storms. The U.S. saw 17 named storms in 2017.
- The storms forecasted include seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, slightly less than 2017’s ten hurricanes and six major hurricanes.
- Of the three major hurricanes expected in the Atlantic, CSU researchers estimate a 63 percent probability of at least one of these making landfall on the continental U.S. This probability is noticeably higher than the average of 52 percent.
- CSU will update its figures after further analysis of weather conditions, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has yet to release its predictions. Both updated hurricane forecasts are expected in late May.
How to Prepare for Hurricane Season in Texas
Even if the forecast is several months early, coastal residents are advised to take steps now to minimize the risks to their lives and the loss of their property. Regardless of how many hurricanes are predicted, it only takes one storm making landfall to turn your life upside-down.
Texans can significantly minimize their losses before the storm season hits by:
- Staying updated. Hurricane season stretches into the fall season, with the majority of storms occurring between August and October. Once a tropical storm or hurricane has been identified, check the location and storm path regularly, and do not hesitate to evacuate if the storm is predicted to make landfall near you.
- Preparing for the worst. Take a tour of your property as if a severe storm is on its way. Make an inventory of all appliances and serial numbers in case they are damaged, and install storm shutters in case you need to leave quickly. Is there anything that cannot be replaced if the building is flooded or collapses? Consider relocating any family heirlooms or valuables offsite until the storms pass. If you have not backed up your electronic files or scanned and made digital copies of photos, now is a good time to do so.
- Updating their coverage. The best way to prevent significant loss is to make sure your insurance coverage is sufficient to repair the damage after a storm. Check your policies now, including homeowner’s policies, commercial property insurance, and auto coverage. Add any coverage that may be lacking. Standard policies rarely pay for damage caused by flooding, so if you have not already purchased flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, now is a good time to do so.
Insurers are often slow to respond to claims made after major disasters, but our experienced insurance attorneys know how to get claimants the maximum they are owed for their losses. If you are still fighting to get fair payment after a storm, fill out the form on this page today to contact the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.