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1107 AM EDT Saturday June 1 2013

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. In an average season, based on data from 1981 to 2010, 12 named tropical cyclones should be expected with 6 of these reaching hurricane intensityand 3 of these hurricanes becoming major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).

The official NOAA 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook indicates a 70 percent probability of an above normal season, a 25 percent probability of a near normal season and a 5 percent probability of a below normal season. This outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 13-20 named storms, with 7-11 likely to reach hurricane intensity, and 3-6 of these to become major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). For additional details on the NOAA 2012 hurricane outlook please visit:

The names used for the 2013 season will be...

Name Pronunciation Name Pronunciation

Tropical cyclones are certainly no strangers to southern New England. Since 1900 a total of 53 tropical systems have impacted southern New England in one way or another. Some brought just light amounts of Rain and wind, while others have brought torrential rains and flash Flooding, devastating storm surges and destructive winds.

The most recent wholly Tropical Storm was Irene in 2011. Irene brought damaging winds to portions of eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and devastating rainfall and flooding to portions of Connecticut, western Massachusetts and southwest New Hampshire into southern Vermont. All told, Irene caused nearly 16 billion dollars in damage as well as 49 direct deaths, 41 or which occurred in the United States. Most of these deaths resulted from rainfall-induced floods. Tropical cyclones are not just a risk for those living close to the coast.

This was further emphasized by Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012. While southern New England was spared from most of Sandy/s power, portions of the south coast still saw significant damage due to coastal flooding. In some communities, entire dune systems were destroyed. Not only did these dunes not protect some properties at the time, these properties will remain more vulnerable to future coastal flooding until they can be repaired. This proves the point a powerful tropical cyclone can still be a threat, even if it is no longer a true tropical cyclone.

For southern New England, this season marks the 59th anniversary of one of the most destructive hurricane seasons in our history, the Summer of 1954. The 1954 season brought New England major hurricanes Carol and Edna. These powerful category 3 hurricanes struck just 11 days apart, with Carol arriving on August 31st, followed by Edna on September 11th. These two storms combined to produce millions of dollars worth of damage to homes, businesses and the boating industry, as well as claiming dozens of lives due to storm surge and river-related flooding.

Carol and Edna were the last major hurricanes to have struck our region. As the 2013 season begins, now is an excellent time to begin your own preparations. Your National Weather Service would like to suggest these helpful measures. Taking a few moments now will save much needed time should a tropical storm or hurricane take aim at southern New England later this season.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of arguably the most destructive hurricane in our history, the Hurricane of 1938. This hurricane made landfall across central Long Island NY and central Connecticut. This storm downed an estimated 2 billion trees in New York and New England alone. Approximately 600 people lost their lives. Many areas within southern New England went weeks without power. Coastal areas were especially devastated from the tremendous storm surge. This particular hurricane should serve as a reminder to all that although storms of this magnitude are rare, they can still happen and must be planned for.

As this tropical cyclone season begins, now is an excellent time to begin your own preparations. Your National Weather Service would like to suggest these helpful measures. By starting now, it becomes possible to develop your plans more completely and share them with your family. It also permits you to spread out any purchases of supplies you may need to make while they are more plentiful and time is not as crucial. Taking a few moments now will save much needed time should a tropical storm or hurricane take aim at Southern New England later this season.

Coastal Residents

  • Begin purchasing supplies needed to protect your property now. Some items, such as plywood and batteries, may run out of stock in the rush just before the arrival of a tropical storm or hurricane.
  • Never plan your actions on the anticipated time of landfall. Typically in Southern New England, heavy rains and winds to tropical storm force will make any travel or outdoor preparation work dangerous as much as 15 hours in advance of the eye of the storm. All outside preparations should be completed before the onset of tropical storm force winds (39 to 73 mph).
  • Remember that most tropical systems approaching our region will accelerate dramatically. This will greatly reduce the time you have to prepare. Build extra time into your plan of action.
  • Never step outside during the passage of the eye. The often calm conditions will be rapidly replaced by a dramatic shift in wind direction and a return to hurricane or tropical storm force winds.
  • Know your evacuation routes and the proper shelters for your area. Check with your local town hall to see if you are in an evacuation zone.
  • Some shelters will not allow pets. Make arrangements ahead of time for a place for your pets to stay. Contact your local emergency management officials for information on which nearby shelters accept pets. Some animal hospitals offer to keep pets until you are able to return home.
  • Know where your gas and water shutoffs are. It is essential that you turn off both your gas and water before you leave your home. This reduces the risk of additional damage to your home when these services are restored after an interruption. Turning off the electricity at the main panel is also a good idea.
  • If you choose not to head to a shelter, make arrangements now with relatives or friends if you wish to stay with them should you need to evacuate. Remember, you only need to evacuate to a safe location which can withstand the expected wind speeds and is not subject to freshwater or coastal flooding.

The Marine Community

  • Inspect your lines at the start of the season. If you are anchored in a mooring field, inspect the chain between your pennant and the mooring. Salt water begins to corrode these chains after just 2 seasons in the water. But this is often unseen by the boat owner.
  • Boat owners should have all the necessary gear on board to properly tie down their vessel. You will lose precious time if you have to rush around searching for gear when a storm is approaching.
  • Realize that you may not be able to pull your boat out of the water before a storm threatens. Your only alternative will be to tie the vessel down.
  • Have a plan worked out with the marina operator so there are no questions or any confusion when the time comes to tie up or pull the boat out of the water.
  • Be sure to take pictures and make a written description of the vessel. This may be used after the storm passes for insurance purposes.
  • Ensure that your vessel is as watertight as possible.
  • When you are through, help your neighbor. It only takes one poorly tied boat in a marina to destroy the entire dock.

Inland Residents

  • Be sure to have plenty of batteries on hand for flashlights, AM/FM radios, and your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. More often than not, power will be disrupted during the storm and may be disrupted for several days.
  • Be sure to have canned food and other items on hand that do not need refrigeration. As stated above, it is almost a certainty that electrical and telephone systems will be disrupted if a hurricane strikes our region. Have a manual can opener in your emergency preparedness kit.
  • If you own a portable generator, be sure it is properly hooked into the power supply. If it is not properly installed, it may do damage to the main power supply or injure electrical workers trying to restore power in your neighborhood.
  • Store plywood and plenty of nails so that you can quickly board up windows on open-facing sides of your home. Do not use masking tape to secure windows, it will not help. Boards should be at least 5/8 inch thick for the best protection.
  • Those living along flood-prone rivers and streams should be ready to head to higher ground should flooding occur.
  • In case of the unlikely event that you must evacuate, know where your nearest storm shelter is located, and the quickest route to it.

Following these simple steps will help make what can be a very stressful and difficult time go a bit more smoothly.

Belk/NWS Taunton

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