The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is here. And officials say it’s never too early to start preparing for a potential storm.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1, 2021 through the end of November and forecasters predict an “above normal” season.
“As you well know, last year was a record-setting year - both in the amount of storms and landfall hurricanes," said Joe Thomas, director of the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center. "So there is no reason to think that it won’t be another active year. In fact, the predictions are that it’s going to be another busy season.”
Thomas notes that many Delawareans may have become complacent because the last time the First State saw direct impact from a storm was Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
But with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting 13 to 20 named systems this season, Thomas says it's wise to prepare.
He says one step coastal residents can take is creating a safety profile on Sussex County’s free Smart911.com service. That allows households to provide potentially critical, life-saving information to first responders ahead of time.
Thomas says coastal residents can also prepare now by assembling a disaster kit.
“Basically it’s a three-day supply of what you think you’ll need to sustain yourself," said Thomas. "We’re typically talking about bottled water, canned food, non-perishable items, a battery-powered radio is always good to have and a flashlight with (extra) batteries. Typically we tell people to make sure you have cash.”
Thomas says that’s because ATMs won’t work when the power is out.
NOAA’s forecast predicts that six to 10 storms this year could become hurricanes, with three to five reaching category three strength or higher.
Forecasters say warmer-than-normal sea surface temps in the Atlantic and the lack of an El Nino weather pattern should contribute to an active season.