Hurricane Season in Texas: What to Expect in 2017

The 2017 hurricane season is here, and being prepared is critical to ensuring the safety and protection of your residents and community. Fortunately, your homeowners association management company can help. Together, you should develop a plan that addresses the unique nature of this year’s hurricane season and the specific needs of your Texas community.  
 
The National Weather Service reports an average of 12 tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean each year, with six of those developing into hurricanes. While this is the average of the past 30 years, the summer of 2017 may be shaping up to be anything but. Let’s examine why you may want to approach this year’s season in a way that’s as unique as the weather conditions themselves.
 
What’s different about this season?
For the 2017 hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that the Atlantic basin will spawn 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of which would become hurricanes. Two to four of those hurricanes are likely to upgrade to a Category 3 strength or higher. This is due in part to the warmer sea-surface temperatures that have been recorded in the Atlantic, and early indications suggest that further warming is likely.1

In addition, analog years, or past years in which the climatic pattern is similar to the current pattern, suggest that the Gulf of Mexico may be particularly vulnerable. This would mean that weather conditions threaten to support at least one high impact hurricane, like Joaquin in 2015 or Matthew in 2016.2
 
Another indication that the 2017 season may be a bit unpredictable is the very early appearance of tropical storm Arlene. Arlene set a record as only the second tropical storm to occur in April, two months earlier than the onset of the typical hurricane season.
 
What do these differences mean? 
Simply put, the highly unpredictable and potentially volatile weather conditions are the only sure things this season. On average, during every two-year period the U.S. coastline is hit by three hurricanes, one of which is usually classified as major with winds of 111 mph or more.
 
There is no way to determine if a tropical storm will develop into a hurricane, or if that hurricane will make landfall. Additionally, there is no way to control how dangerous a hurricane will be. Hurricane Sandy and Matthew were classified only as category 1, yet both caused incredible destruction.
 
What is certain is that all communities, even those far inland, must be prepared for the severe weather that accompanies a hurricane. The Houston and Galveston areas are extremely vulnerable, which means it’s critical your community is equipped even in the event of a lesser storm.

How can our community be better prepared?
In short, readiness is more important than ever. And while you can’t predict if you’ll be affected by a hurricane this season, you can certainly prepare for one. The best way to prepare for the unpredictable is to tailor a disaster response plan to your specific community. A great property management company with experience in disaster preparedness will be adept at customizing a plan that is unique to you and your residents. Associations need to be prepared to manage digital assets, provide escape routes for residents, have vendor contracts in place to help with prep or clean-up, manage insurance aspects and much, much more.
 
2017 could be a hurricane season unlike those we’ve seen in past years – being prepared can help your community weather the storm.


Sources

1 - http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/above-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-is-most-likely-year  
2 - http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/2017-atlantic-hurricane-forecast-possible-el-nino-to-limit-development-of-storms/70001271

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