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NEW YORK, Aug. 5, 2020— An updated 2020 hurricane season forecast released today by the Tropical Meteorology Project in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU) calls for this year’s “extremely active” season to continue.
Led by Phil Klotzbach, PhD, also a non-resident scholar at the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the CSU forecast team released its 2020 outlook in April, with updates in June, July and earlier today. In its latest forecast, CSU anticipates 24 named storms (up from 20 in the July update), 12 hurricanes (up from nine) and five major hurricanes (up from four). Major hurricanes have sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour and are ranked as a Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale. Nine named storms and two hurricanes have to date formed in the Atlantic Basin in 2020.
“We have already seen five named storms make landfall this season in the U.S., including two Category 1 hurricanes in less than two weeks, both causing widespread property damage,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I, referring to Hurricanes Hanna and Isaias, which struck Texas and North Carolina, respectively. Tropical Storms Bertha, Cristobal, and Fay also made landfall in the U.S. this year. “As we get closer to the peak of hurricane season, all coastal residents and businesses must make sure they are ready for what is likely to continue to be a well-above-average season. That’s why it’s so important to have your property insurance coverage and hurricane preparedness kit ready well in advance of any tropical cyclones.” In addition, the Triple-I’s Resilience Accelerator offers more details on how insurance protects and empowers communities.
Kevelighan added, “Homeowners and business owners should contact their insurance professional to make sure they have the right amount and type of coverage to protect their properties from damage caused by either wind or water. That also means assessing whether you need flood insurance coverage, which is not part of a standard homeowners, renters or business policy.” Ninety percent of U.S. natural disasters involve flooding. Flood policies are offered through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and several private insurers.
“And take steps to make your home more resilient to windstorms and torrential rain, such as installing roof tie-downs and a good drainage system,” Kevelighan said. The installation of a wind-rated garage door and storm shutters also boost a home’s resilience to a hurricane.
A typical hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season – which included Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma – was the most active on record with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes.
Nearly 80 percent of U.S. drivers opt to purchase comprehensive coverage when buying their auto insurance policy. Comprehensive covers vehicles when they are damaged by either wind or water.
Other hurricane season preparation tips from the Triple-I include:
CSU’s updated forecast is based on an extended-range early August scheme that was developed using 38 years of past data and also utilizes analog predictors. The updated forecast indicates there is a 74 percent chance of a major hurricane making landfall in the continental U.S., which is considerably more than the long-term average of ~50 percent. The nine named storms so far this year – Hurricanes Hanna and Isaias and Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay and Gonzalo – are the most ever during the first two-plus months of an Atlantic hurricane season, according to CSU.
“The tropical Atlantic is much warmer than normal, and vertical wind shear across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean has been much weaker than normal,” Klotzbach said. “Warmer than normal water across the tropical Atlantic provides more fuel for tropical cyclones and is also associated with lower than normal pressure and increased instability. All of these trends favor more hurricane activity.”
CSU will be issuing two-week forecasts throughout the peak of the 2020 hurricane season.
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