June 1st marks the official start of hurricane season, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration already warning of an “above average” year in 2017.
NOAA forecasters currently predict “a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.” These predictions come on the heels of a 2016 season that saw the formation of 15 tropical storms. Seven of those storms eventually became hurricanes, including the strongest and deadliest, Hurricane Matthew.
But homeowners and residents in hurricane-prone areas aren’t defenseless, and the National Weather Service has some tips on how to prepare.
Determine your risk level:
Hurricanes don’t just affect coastal areas. The effects, according to the NWS, are sometimes felt hundreds of miles inland as a result of flooding, tornadoes, high wind and other factors.
To help, NWS has developed a tool for residents of affected areas to determine what wind and water hazards are a threat in their community.
Ensure you’re insured:
Once the storm passes, the cleanup and repair work begins, and affected residents may be calling their insurance companies for help. But typical homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, and with a standard 30-day waiting period for flood coverage to take effect, NWS recommends homeowners and renters alike take action now.
Realtors® have also spent the year reminding consumers that the National Flood Insurance Program, which serves 22,000 communities across the country, must be reauthorized before it expires on September 30. Otherwise, Realtors® say, home sales will suffer and policy-holders may find themselves unable to renew their policy when it expires.
NAR 2017 President William E. Brown sounded the alarm on the NFIP’s expiration earlier this year with a reminder of the damage caused by flooding in 2016.
“Last year was the third largest claims payout year in NFIP’s history, costing more than $4 billion,” Brown said. “While there were 5 billion-dollar floods, including Hurricane Matthew, four of the five were inland, and the largest single event was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in August, just one year out from the NFIP’s expiration date.”
Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30. Additional tips on how to prepare for a hurricane are available through the NWS .