Hurricane season is June 1 – September 30. Although hurricanes can – and have – occurred during every month of the year, they are most likely to happen when the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are at their warmest. The strongest hurricanes are most probable in late August through September.
Who Is At Risk
Because of its location between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is the state most at risk of hurricane damage. Between 1851 (when the wind-speed category system was invented) and 2018, Florida sustained damage from 41% of all US hurricanes. Here are the Top 10 places affected by hurricanes during those years…
1. Florida – 120 hurricanes (37 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
2. Texas – 64 hurricanes (19 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5 )
3. North Carolina – 55 hurricanes (7 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
4. Louisiana – 54 hurricanes (17 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
5. South Carolina – 30 hurricanes (5 were Cat 3 Cat 5)
6. Alabama – 24 hurricanes (5 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
7. Georgia – 22 hurricanes (3 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
8. Mississippi – 19 hurricanes (8 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
9. New York – 15 hurricanes (3 were Cat 3 thru Cat 5)
10. Massachusetts – 12 hurricanes (1 was a Category 3)
As you can see, residents along the Gulf Coast and the entire Atlantic Seaboard should prepare for hurricane season.
Prepare For Hurricane Season Now
The best time to prepare is before hurricane season begins. Have an evacuation plan, including where to go and what routes to take. If your local authorities tell you to evacuate, don’t wait around. Go.
Ensure your house is as weather-proof as possible. Secure all loose items around your home. Put porch furniture, flower pots, and bicycles inside. If you have shutters, close them tightly.
Make sure your homeowner’s and wind insurance policies are up to date.
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you. Do NOT leave them behind.
Assemble a Hurricane Kit
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Food (minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable food items)
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Battery-powered radio to listen to local updates
- Whistle for attracting attention
- Medication for at least 7 days
- Blankets and warm/waterproof clothing
- Well stocked first aid kit
- Pet food & pet supplies
- Your important papers, like birth certificate, deed to your house, health insurance card, driver’s license, and passport
Keep all items in waterproof containers or zip-lock plastic bags. Keep your cell phone charged during hurricane season and have a spare battery and charger. Solar-powered batteries can charge up everything when electrical lines blow down.
Once hurricane season begins, stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts on your cell phone. You can also get updates from NOAA Radio. Hand-crank NOAA radios are the perfect solution when electric power is not available. They are available at most ‘big box’ stores and on the internet.
For more hurricane preparation tips, check out FEMA’s comprehensive downloadable guidebook and visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes for the best information on hurricane preparedness.