Out of sight, out of mind seems to be the case for those of us who live on the Atlantic coast. We’ve been relatively lucky when it comes to this year’s hurricane season, even though we’ve had our fair share of treacherous weather. But when focusing on the bigger picture, it’s becoming increasingly evident that just because we aren’t experiencing any major storms locally, doesn’t mean others aren’t across the globe.
In the Pacific area, storms are appearing at record-breaking intervals. Both China and Japan were recently hit with not one, but two super typhoons, which caused hazardous weather conditions and half a million evacuations in Japan. Shortly after, Hawaii began bracing for Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio, a category 3 storm, only 900 miles apart. The storms spelled trouble for Hawaiian natives, who have only been affected by 2 hurricanes since the 1950’s, both of which originated from the south, causing for the warmer waters to be able to handle the strength of the storms. Hurricane Iselle, on the other hand, formed from the east of Hawaii, which makes it a rare occurrence and substantially more difficult to break up due to the water and air conditions.
Hawaiian natives are not taking the issue lightly and are taking the necessary steps of precaution to ensure safety. Due to the low frequency of hurricanes that have hit the island, Hawaiian locals are more accustomed to preparing for the effects of storms than actually experiencing them. This is an important aspect of dealing with the onset of a major hurricane, however, because preparation is always key. Hotels, which generate a great deal of income for Hawaii, have taken steps like removing cancellation fees, setting aside extra rooms for employees, as well as preparing and testing backup generators to ensure a smooth ride through the incoming storms. In addition, Hawaiian Electric Co. has issued safety tips in lieu of the potential hazards that might occur. Some of the tips include backup generator testing and insights, as well as how to deal with fallen power lines.
Along the Atlantic, however, it appears the event of a major hurricane is only decreasing with a 70% chance of a below-normal season, and a 5% chance of an above average season. Although these numbers should quell fears, there have already been two hurricanes, which appeared ahead of the predictions. Ultimately, it only takes one major storm to spell tragedy in the United States, like we once saw with Hurricane Andrew, which reconstructed Florida’s entire outlook on what a natural disaster meant. It may be highly unlikely that we experience a big storm this year, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, and it certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be completely prepared.