2021 Hurricane Season Could Stretch Supply Chains Even Further

Posted: June 6, 2021 3:13 am

How to Ensure Your Family is Not Caught Off Guard with Supply Chain Disruptions

With the flip of the calendar, it is officially hurricane season in the Atlantic basin. While you may think that this will only affect you if you live along the US coastal areas prone to hurricanes, experts are warning that this year’s hurricane season could have a profound effect on the nation’s supply lines.

Rough Year for US Supply Chains

It has been a hard year for many of the nation’s most needed supply chains. The upheaval began in the spring of 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every American was affected by shortages in products ranging from toilet paper to yeast to cleaning supplies.

A record-breaking hurricane season last year wreaked more havoc on the country’s supply chains. The freezing weather in February of this year combined with the massive Texas ice storm showed once again how easily these chains can be disrupted at the hands of Mother Nature. And in recent weeks, a cyberattack on a primary oil and gas line sent many Americans heading to the pumps to stockpile gasoline.

There is no doubt that this type of panic buying can cause major issues for many of the country’s most critical supply chains. Unfortunately, many economic experts are warning that this year’s upcoming hurricane season may lead to a repeat of these supply chain problems.

Looking Ahead to Hurricane Season

Predicting the severity of a hurricane season in advance is not an exact science. However, the latest models are predicting that the 2021 hurricane season will be more active than usual. While it is not expected to match the severity of last year’s whopper of a season, forecasters are warning that it is not going to be clear sailing ahead.

As a result, many business leaders are already bracing for even more supply chain issues in the months to come.

The Rush Before the Storm

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There are two primary ways that a hurricane landfall can affect supply lines. On a local level, the chains may be temporarily disrupted as residents rush out to stock up on hurricane essentials. This sudden rush of panic buying can leave many shelves empty. This is why hurricane preparedness experts are continually warning residents to have their storm essentials always on hand.

In addition, hurricanes tend to affect areas that are crucial to the proper function of US supply chains. This is because many of the nation’s most important ports and oil refineries are located along coastal areas that typically take the brunt of the tropical storms. A major storm will force shutdowns of these operations, causing a ripple effect throughout the region and beyond.

Truck drivers are also often unable or unwilling to drive into areas affected by hurricanes. This leads to even more disruption, potentially affecting people who live thousands of miles away from the disaster area.

It is important to note that hurricanes are not the only severe weather disaster that can disrupt supply chains. Forecasters are also predicting a tough wildfire season out west.

Production Already Stretched Thin

Despite the severe economic downturn of 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, Americans have been purchasing some goods and items in record numbers. One prime example is the rapid increase in demand for lumber in recent months as many Americans used the downtime during the pandemic to tackle those home improvement projects. As demand continues to exceed supply for many durable goods, prices also continue to soar.

Early Preparation is Key

While you cannot control Mother Nature, you can control how prepared you are to deal with her wrath. Taking the proper steps now to ensure that you are stocked up on your life essentials is key to weathering the storm. Even if you do not live in a hurricane zone, it is always a good idea to stay stocked up on your everyday essentials.