June 1 started the official 2013 hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is once again predicting an active season.
The NOAA predicts that the season, which lasts until November 30, will produce between 13 and 20 named storms, of which 7 to 11 could be hurricanes and 3 to 6 will be major hurricanes. A major hurricane is described as being Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. Luckily, this only predicts how many storms will form and does not predict how many will make landfall. Each storm’s landfall prediction is made by the National Hurricane Center as it forms.
The seasonal average is 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Atlantic hurricane seasons have been more active than normal since 1995.
The most important thing for anyone is to be prepared:
- Make a family emergency plan now, before any hurricanes form. Be sure to include your pets in your planning.
- Stock an emergency kit. Find out what you need by visiting www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
- Make sure your sump pump is ready.
- Make sure it’s working if it hasn’t kicked on in a while. Look for and remove any sediment buildup.
- Check your battery backup to ensure that everything is hooked up correctly and it’s ready to go.
- If you don’t have a backup sump pump, look into a water-powered one. It requires no electricity to operate, and, therefore, may be a better option than a battery backup in case of long-term power outage. A water-powered backup sump pump is significantly lower in cost than a flooded basement as a result of your main sump pump failing or not working because the power is out.
When a hurricane is predicted, protect your property in more ways than putting up storm shutters:
- Turn off your air conditioning system at the thermostat and the circuit breaker to avoid the damage power surges can cause
- Secure your air conditioning equipment with hurricane straps and tighten the bolts that secure the system to the base so that it doesn’t move.
- Move all loose objects indoors to a protected area so that they do not turn into projectiles in high winds. Be especially careful of anything that may strike and damage outdoor air conditioning units.
The most important thing you should do, cooling-wise, after a hurricane has passed is make sure that the unit was not damaged in any way during the storm. If you think there is any possibility of damage, call us. We’ll take a look to be sure that it’s safe to operate. Damage can include impact damage, movement or shifting, flooding, and salt water damage if any sea water came into contact with the unit. A damaged unit is unsafe to operate until it is inspected and/or fixed by a licensed technician.