August 10, 2018 Update: Forecasters at NOAA have decreased the chance of a normal hurricane season, and determined there is a 60% chance of a below-normal Hurricane season for the Atlantic. Although forecasters have updated the outlook, it is a great time to remind all residents that peak Hurricane season is during September, so now is the time to be prepared!
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins on Friday, June 1, 2018 and does not end until Friday, November 30, 2018. The peak of hurricane season for Anne Arundel County is between mid-August and late October.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30.
NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
“Although forecasters predict a near-average hurricane season, it is important for all Anne Arundel County citizens to prepare for hurricanes prior to their arrival. Citizens should ensure they know where to tune in for reliable news and weather information, ensure all family communication plans are in place, and all go-kits are packed and prepared”, said Office of Emergency Management Director, Kevin Aftung. “It only takes one storm to impact a community, so make a plan and prepare while you can!”
NOAA will update the 2018 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.
NOAA’s 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook
What is the difference between a Watch and Warning?
|Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions are expected within the specified area within 36 hours or less. Associated sustained winds may be 39 to 73 mph or higher.|
|Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area within 48 hours or less. Associated sustained winds may be 74mph or higher.|
|Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area within 36 hours or less. Associated sustained winds may be 74 mph or higher.|
|Storm Surge Watch: The possibility exists for life-threatening inundation from rising water may occur within 48-hours or less due to a tropical storm or hurricane.|
|Storm Surge Warning: The danger exists for life-threatening inundation from rising water may occur within 36-hours or less due to a tropical storm or hurricane.|
Common Hurricane/Tropical Storm Terminology
|Eye: The roughly circular area of comparatively light winds that encompasses the center of a tropical storm or hurricane.|
|Hurricane: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 74 mph or more.|
|Landfall: The term used when the eye of a tropical storm or hurricane meets the coastline.|
|Storm Surge: The abnormal rise in seawater level during a tropical storm or hurricane, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted tide.|
|Subtropical Depression: A tropical system which has weakened creating maximum sustained surface wind speed of 38 mph or less.|
|Subtropical Storm: A tropical system which has weakened creating maximum sustained surface wind speed of 39 mph or less.|
|Tropical Depression: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph or less.|
|Tropical Storm: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 39 mph or less.|
Where should I go to find out what is happening locally?
When severe weather is forecast, it is important for citizens and business owners to monitor the situation and act proactively to protect themselves, their family, and their property. Local officials have a variety of ways to get information to the public. Tune into the following:
Television/Cable: WBAL, WMAR, WJZ, WBFF, Anne Arundel County Community TV
Radio: WYRE 810 AM, WBAL 1090 AM, WNAV 1430 AM, WYPR 88.1 FM, El Zol 99.1 FM, WTOP 103.5 FM, WFSI 107.9 FM
NOAA Weather Radio: 162.400 mHz (SAME Code 024003) Battery-Powered with extra batteries or Hand-Cranked Radio
CodeRED: Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis utilize an emergency notification system, CodeRED, capable of contacting citizens and businesses quickly in case of an emergency. CodeRED alerts the public of emergencies and disasters, safety measures to be taken, and information pertaining to government operations. To register your cell phone or email address, click here or call 410-222-0600.
Anne Arundel County's Citizen’s Guide to Emergencies was created to provide guidelines for citizens prior to and during emergencies. The guide offers a wide variety of information to help you successfully take action during most emergencies and keep you as safe as possible. Prior to hurricanes, it is important to review your family plans, such as evacuation and communication plans, and refresh your go-kit. Information to assist family planning prior to hurricanes can be found in the Citizen’s Guide to Emergencies.
Prepare Your Home
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season, trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe. Additionally, it is important to secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property. You can reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
If power outages are caused by the storm, portable generators may provide assistance to homeowners. Remember, if using a generator, to keep it and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
For additional hurricane information year-round, visit the Office of Emergency Management’s Hurricane Hazard page.