A recent study confirms what many scientists have been proclaiming—hurricane season is starting earlier due to higher surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. Since Florida feels the impact of Atlantic hurricanes far more than any other state, this is big news for our state.
What many people may not have heard, however, is that your location within Florida can determine how soon hurricane season starts for you personally. Knowing when to be prepared for dangerous storms can help keep your family safe and reduce your potential for property damage.
More Named Storms Forming Before June 1
The National Hurricane Center officially designates hurricane season as running from June 1 to November 30 each year. However, named storms are forming before June 1 more frequently as the year’s pass.
According to a recent study published in Nature Communications, the sea surface temperature readings have been warming steadily since the 1970s. On average, we reach the point where the surface temperature is warm enough to sustain convection—producing storms—a little earlier each year.
The storms occurring earlier in the season tend to be wet and weak, with lots of rainfall and lower average wind speeds than the storms that occur later in the season. However, flooding and water damage from rainfall can be just as deadly and destructive as wind damage from late-season storms. People need to be aware of the need to take precautions earlier in the year to protect themselves.
Location Makes a Difference
Florida has a diverse collection of geographic characteristics and climates, and the state is spread out over a wide geographic area. That means the storm potential differs in various parts of the state. When is your home most at risk? Let’s take a look:
- The Panhandle is most at risk for early storms. The counties in the Florida panhandle face the greatest risk of a tropical storm in June, though, of course, storm risks continue throughout the season.
- Central Florida sees a sharp spike in August and September. While August and September see the greatest number of hurricanes everywhere, the trend is most pronounced in Central Florida.
- Southwest Florida has two peak risk periods. While June and July are traditionally quiet, Southwest Florida usually sees a spike in late August/early September, followed by another spike in mid-October. In fact, the greatest number of storms make direct landfall in this region in October.
- Southeast Florida faces risks over a long period. Unlike the rest of the state, which is classified as humid subtropical, Southeast Florida’s tropical monsoon climate provides the region with a long risk period for hurricanes. August and September see the majority of the storms, but about 40% occur later, leading to a lengthy season.
Remember the Water Damage from Early Storms Can Be Just as Harmful as the Dramatic Damage Later in the Season
Many people underrate the dangers of mild, wet storms early in the hurricane season. But they need to understand the risk from storms like Alberto, which led to 18 deaths and $125 million in flood damage in May of 2018.
You can protect yourself by keeping an eye on weather forecasts and making sure your home is properly maintained and insured. Be aware that if your insurance company refuses to pay a claim or does not pay a fair amount for covered damage, you may be entitled to legal relief for a bad faith insurance claim. An attorney at the Maus Law Firm can help if you have problems with a claim for hurricane damage. For a free consultation, contact us now.