June 1 to November 30 marks hurricane season, with peak season running from the second half of August through September. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast predicts there will likely be hurricanes more often this year than average. So, if you haven’t prepared for hurricane season yet, use this hurricane preparedness guide help get you started.
Understanding the 5 categories of hurricanes
A five-category scale called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale ranks the intensity of hurricanes. Category 1 indicates the least intense rating with sustained wind speeds of 74 – 95 miles per hour (mph). Meanwhile, Category 5 indicates the most intense rating with sustained wind speeds of over 157 mph.
For reference, Hurricane Ike (2008) was a Category 2 and Hurricane Harvey (2017) was a Category 4.
How are hurricanes named?
Did you know that tropical cyclones are the only weather systems given names? According to the National Hurricane Center, storms used to be named by their latitude-longitude location. But using short, familiar names makes them easier to discuss and lessens the chance of errors. It also helps reduce confusion when two or more storms form at the same or overlapping times.
However, naming a hurricane is no last-minute decision. The World Meteorological Organization established a strict naming process. It provides a different list of names for each of six years. So, every six years a name list is repeated.
As storms develop, they get named in the order they occur, beginning with the letter ‘A.’ In the event of a severely deadly or damaging storm, such as Hurricane Katrina, the name gets retired. Then, a new name beginning with the same letter replaces it. That’s why you never hear about two very deadly hurricanes with the same name.
What will this year’s hurricanes be named?
For 2022, the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone names, if needed, will be: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.
Hurricane watch vs. hurricane warning
Before the potential impact of a hurricane, meteorologists issue a hurricane watch and/or a hurricane warning for specific areas. A hurricane watch is announced when winds of 74 mph or more are possibleBefore the potential impact of a hurricane, meteorologists issue a hurricane watch and/or a hurricane warning for specific areas. A hurricane watch happens when winds of 74 mph or more are possible within a 48-hour period. Meanwhile, a hurricane warning happens when winds of 74 mph or more are expected within the next 24 hours.
Taking action during a hurricane warning
In the event of a hurricane warning, FEMA recommends that you:
- Secure your home
- Bring in outdoor furniture
- Charge your cellphone
- Listen for emergency alerts and information
- Immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials
What to expect from the 2022 hurricane season?
According to the Colorado State University 2022 hurricane forecast, the Atlantic region can expect an estimated:
- 20 named storms
- 95 days of named storms
- 10 hurricanes (5 of them major)
This data all points to higher than normal tropical storm and hurricane activity for Texans. Do you have a hurricane preparedness plan in case a storm hits your area?
How do you prepare for a hurricane?
Being ready for hurricane season is crucial for your safety. Have you created a hurricane emergency kit, or a ‘go bag?’ Important items to include are:
- Non-perishable foods and a can opener
- Extra clothing, shoes and socks
- Pet food, if you have pets
- Phone/device charger and charged portable power bank
- Cash and important paperwork (personal IDs, social security cards, titles to homes/cars), in a resealable plastic bag
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Eyeglasses and/or contacts and solution
- Battery-powered radio
- List of important emergency phone numbers
- Moist towelettes, hand sanitizer and face masks
- Garbage bags
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste and other essential hygiene items
- A whistle
- Emergency blankets
For a complete list of items you may want to include in your go bag or emergency kit, visit ready.gov/kit.
More ways to be prepared
You’ll also want to decide on a family evacuation plan. This plan includes your best escape route (with multiple routes, in case of road flooding). And don’t forget to agree on a place to meet, in case you get separated.
Remember to prepare your home to endure a severe storm. Trim tree branches that hang close to your home, clean out the gutters and clear an indoor space where you can store outdoor furniture if the time comes. You should also Remember to prepare your home for a severe storm. For example, trim tree branches that hang close to your home and clean out the gutters. Clear an indoor space where you can store outdoor furniture if the time comes. You should also have a supply of sandbags handy, to help prevent flooding. Exterior plywood (at least 5/8” thick) can be helpful for covering windows.
Another way to reduce evacuation stress is to make any needed car repairs ahead of time. That includes filling the gas tank, checking tire pressure and making sure you have a spare tire.
How do you stay safe during a hurricane?
Hurricane preparedness includes planning what to do during a storm. In the event of a hurricane in your area, don’t forget to:
- Listen to updates from local officials
- Stay inside even if it seems the storm has passed
- Lock and stay away from windows and outside doors
- Move to an interior room so there are as many walls between yourself and the wind as possible (a bathroom, closet or storm shelter are typically the safest spots)
- Avoid touching electrical items
- Turn off and unplug all major appliances if the electricity goes out
- Remain inside until local authorities issue an ‘all clear’ statement
- Evacuate if your home is flooded or emergency personnel recommend it
- Never drive across flooded roads
Helpful resources for hurricane preparedness
Keep the following links handy to help you weather the Texas hurricane season:
- Ready.gov Hurricanes
- American Red Cross Hurricane Safety
- National Weather Center
- Ready.gov Recovering from a Disaster
Choose an energy provider you can trust
In conclusion, hurricane preparedness makes hurricane season a lot less stressful. Also less stressful? Finding electricity providers in Texas you can trust with Everything Energy’s easy-to-use energy comparison tools. Shop and compare plans to get the best match for you and your family’s lifestyle and budget.