According to The Weather Company, this year is expected to be the most active tropical storm season since 2012. They predict there will be 14 named storms, eight hurricanes, and three major (Category 3 or higher) hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season. The average prediction for a hurricane season is 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
Although the hurricane season is from June through November, these numbers include Hurricane Alex which occurred back in January.
Why is there an increase in hurricane activity?
Scientists believe El Niño will fade sometime in the spring or early summer, followed by a strong La Niña. The higher number of predicted storms could be a result of the end of El Niño and beginning of La Niña.
Historically, a La Niña has caused an increase in hurricanes, especially when an El Niño precedes a La Niña. According to Citylab.com, La Niña's change "the direction and speed of wind thousands of feet above the sea," which creates a favorable environment for a hurricane to form.
That being said, the number of predicted storms doesn't necessarily match up with the number of storms that will make landfall in the U.S. There could be a larger number of hurricanes predicted, with few reaching land. In contrast, a small number of storms could occur with several hitting the U.S. coast. Weather.com notes on average, the country sees one or two landfalls every hurricane season.
So how likely is it that a storm will make landfall this year? The Weather Research Center (WRC) forecasts that there is a 70 percent chance a named storm will reach the west coast of Florida. They also predict that there is a 60 percent chance of a hurricane hitting the Texas cost. Although most of the hurricanes predicted aren't a category 3 or higher, the WRC believes there is a 60 percent chance one of the storms will turn it into a major hurricane.
While it's important to have enough protection no matter the forecast, people—especially those living near the coast—should make sure they have extra coverage based on this year's hurricane forecast.
How you can prepare
If you live in a hurricane prone area, you'll want to make sure you have protection for both your house and car. Cars and homes are often destroyed by the strong winds and inland flooding hurricanes bring. Over 250,000 cars were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy alone.
Hurricane coverage and home insurance is a little tricky. Although a typical home policy will cover wind damage, it won't cover costs for flood repairs.
Some states may also use a different deductible for hurricane damages versus damages from regular storms. This protects the insurer in states at high risk for hurricanes.
Thankfully, you probably already have home insurance, so you'll likely be covered for wind damage. For example, you'll have coverage if strong winds and debris break your windows or if a tree falls on your house due to the storm. Any additional structures on your property such as a deck, pool, shed, or garage will typically also be covered.
Home insurance generally includes contents insurance. This means your belongings inside your home are also protected from a storm.
Nevertheless, there are always exceptions, so it's best to check your policy, to see exactly what coverage you have.
And even though hurricanes often bring floods, you won't have protection from water damage through your standard homeowners policy. Instead, flood insurance is bought separately from your home insurance policy.
Even though this type of coverage isn't required by law, you'll want to have the extra protection, particularly if you're in a flood-prone area.
Unlike other insurance coverage, you'll pay the same rate for flood insurance no matter which company you buy it from. Rather, your property's elevation, age, and flood risk determines the cost of your premiums.
Think you don’t need coverage? Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. and about 25 percent of flood claims come from low to medium risk areas.
To get coverage from a storm or flood for your car, you'll need more than a standard liability policy. Car owners should buy comprehensive insurance to ensure protection against hurricanes and other natural disasters. This includes both wind and flood damage. Learn more by reading our "Comprehensive Car Insurance Basics" article.