With the first day of August right around the corner, the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is also nearing. Despite a lull in recent activity in the Atlantic Basin, it does not mean that the season will pass by without creating havoc. What do you need to know about tropical weather trends and what you can expect in the coming months?
Not Unusual for Tropics to Go Quiet in July
The Atlantic Basin has gone relatively dormant since Tropical Storm Colin fell apart off the coast of North Carolina at the beginning of July. It is important to note that this period of quietness is typical for July. There were no named storms in this part of the Atlantic for over one month between early July and early August in 2021 as well.
While the official Atlantic hurricane season runs from the beginning of June through November, it typically takes some time for the storms to truly fire up in size and intensity. The season generally begins building in August before flaming out by the middle of October. This means that the Atlantic Basin is now entering the time period in which you can expect the highest number of named storms. August and September are also when you can expect the most powerful storms to take root.
Factors That Influence the August Tropical Weather Ramp-Up
There are a number of factors that impact the predicted tropical weather ramp-up that typically occurs starting in August. This is the time of the year when the easterly waves coming off of Africa tend to develop. It is these waves that trigger the formation of many of the tropical storms and hurricanes that journey across the Atlantic.
In addition, the Saharan air layers that often hinder tropical development in the central and eastern portions of the Atlantic Basin also tend to dissipate by August. This makes it more likely that the waves coming from Africa are able to pull up moisture to lead to future development. Wind shear is also more likely to fall apart in the latter part of summer, allowing storms to stay together rather than be broken apart.
The rising sea-surface temperature readings provide a fertile environment for tropical storms to form. As the water temperatures reach their peak, it makes sense that potential tropical storms are able to draw on this energy to grow.
All of these factors serve as fuel for tropical activity, raising the odds that some of these storms will grow and head toward the Caribbean and threaten the coastline of the U.S.
What to Do Now to Prepare for the Peak of Hurricane Season
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If you have not started your hurricane preparation, now is the time to do so. Here are a few of the most important things to do now as the peak of hurricane season approaches.
Make a Plan – The single best thing that you can do in advance of the peak of hurricane season is to make a plan. Be sure to have a formal evacuation plan on paper. You also need to program emergency numbers into your phone. Having different routes in mind to evacuate will give you options should you receive notice to leave. If you have pets, identify potential shelters or safe hotels that may be able to accommodate your animals in the event of an emergency.
Gather Emergency Supplies – You will need to have plenty of supplies on hand for both during and after the hurricane strike. Keep in mind that even an indirect brush with a major hurricane could cut off your water and power for days or even weeks. You also may not be able to drive to gather additional supplies if roads are flooded or blocked by debris. Supplies that you should have on hand if you live in an area prone to hurricanes include bottled water, non-perishable foods, medication, personal hygiene items, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher. Be sure to also gather an ample supply of infant and pet supplies, if needed.
Prepare Your Home – If your area is under a hurricane watch or warning, you will need to take additional steps to prepare what may lie ahead. The good news is that today’s modern weather monitoring services mean that you typically have a few days to prepare for a tropical storm or hurricane landfall. If you are in the potential impact zone, you will need to clear your yard and stow away any items that could become projectiles with strong winds. This includes lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and bicycles. This is also when you should cover all windows and doors to protect them from damage.
In the hours leading up to the landfall, it is a good idea to fill clean water containers with safe drinking water. This step is important if you lose access to your water supply in the aftermath of the storm. Additionally, you can consider filling your sinks and bathtubs so that you have extra water for washing dishes or clothes.
Be Ready to Evacuate or Hunker Down – This is when having a detailed plan will come in the most handy. When a hurricane is approaching your area, you need to decide whether to evacuate or hunker down. It is always advisable to listen to the advice of local officials and evacuate if needed. Do not try to ride out a storm at home if officials have put you under the umbrella of an evacuation zone.
If you need to evacuate, unplug all of your appliances and turn off the gas, water, and electricity to your home. Be sure to follow the advised evacuation routes so that you do not run into trouble. Do not try to beat the traffic by traveling on water-logged roadways.
If you are staying at home, be sure to stay away from all of the windows during the peak of the storm. Do not go outside until officials have given the all-clear. It is also important to keep your emergency kit within an arm’s reach at all times.
By following all of the tips, you will be ready for what the rest of the summer may bring in the Atlantic Basin.
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