Businesses Should Prepare Now for 2016 Hurricane Season

Businesses should prepare now for 2016 hurricane season
Forecasters hope for a continued streak of luck on U.S. coasts

FT. WORTH, Texas (June 7, 2016) – Not a single major hurricane has made U.S. landfall since 2005, and that relatively lengthy streak of luck has made some coastal property owners a bit nervous. Experts at Interstate Restoration advise business owners and others along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts to take steps NOW to prepare for the hurricane season that began this month and runs through November.

Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist who leads The Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, presented his 2016 hurricane forecast recently in a webinar sponsored by Interstate Restoration, a U.S. leader in disaster recovery efforts on a commercial scale. Klotzbach predicts the formation of at least 12 “named” storms (hurricanes or tropical storms) in the Atlantic Basin that could impact the U.S. East or Gulf coasts this year. Included in that prediction would be two “major” hurricanes, classified as those reaching Category 3-5 strength, with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour. The season is already off to a fast start with Tropical Storms Bonnie and Colin hitting Florida and the Carolinas recently.

“The U.S. has been extraordinarily lucky over the past decade,” Klotzbach said. He noted that while there has been significant damage in recent years from storms not classified as major – Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is an example – the last time a major hurricane struck the U.S. was in 2005, when Hurricane Wilma (a Category 3 storm at landfall after earlier reaching Category 5 strength) hit Florida in October of that year. Wilma was the seventh major hurricane of that season, which included a record 15 hurricanes (including the devastating Hurricane Katrina) and a record 28 tropical or subtropical storms.

“We hope never to see another year like we saw in 2005, but we have to be ready for that kind of possibility,” said Stacy Mazur, chief executive officer of Interstate Restoration. “Should the worst happen though, Interstate’s experts are ready to assist with recovery in every way, as we did recently for the victims of the fires in Ft. McMurray, Canada.

Interstate Restoration, headquartered in Ft. Worth, Texas, recently acquired FirstOnSite to become the second-largest independent company in North America, with 19 offices in the U.S. and another 35 in Canada. Interstate Restoration offers its clients advice about all the most effective ways to prepare for and respond to hurricanes, floods, fires, and other natural disasters.

Klotzbach noted that financial losses from hurricanes and tropical storms continue to rise even absent major storms; today there is more property in harm’s way. “Most analysts think the storm that hit downtown Miami in 1926 (a Category 4 hurricane) would cause $150 billion to $200 billion in damage today,” he said. Most estimates have put the cost of that 1926 storm at about $78 million.

Interstate Restoration understands the importance of preparing for disasters, which is why the company has partnered with Klotzbach for the past several years to give businesses the latest and best information in preparation for the hurricane and tropical storm season. Interstate Restoration’s experience in natural disaster recovery and restoration includes:

  • Management of more than 440 projects during Hurricane Katrina.
  • Management of more than 220 projects in the first seven days of Hurricane Ike.
  • In 2007, handling multiple projects on the West Coast (flooding in Washington State) and in the Northeast (massive pipe breaks caused by cold and freezing temperatures; HVAC system breakdowns).

To access CSU’s Tropical Meteorology’s full seasonal forecast report, as well as post-season verifications, please visit http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu. The team will issue its next forecast update on July 1. For a publishable infographic, click here.

About Phil Klotzbach

Phil Klotzbach is a research scientist with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2007 and has worked in the school’s Department of Atmospheric Science for the past 10 years. He has been the co-author of Atlantic Basin hurricane forecasts with the late William Gray, a pioneer in hurricane forecasting who passed away in April of this year. Klotzbach began authoring seasonal hurricane forecasts in 2006. He developed the two-week forecasts currently issued during peak months of the hurricane season (August to October) and has recently redesigned the statistical models utilized by the Tropical Meteorology Project to compile its forecasts. Click here for Klotzbach’s forecast of the 2016 Atlantic Basin hurricane activity.