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What to Expect & How to Protect Your Business This Hurricane Season

StormGeo's hurricane experts give their outlook for the 2021 hurricane season, plus tips for how businesses can protect themselves.

“What happens in a previous season has little or no bearing on what will develop in the following season,” said Chris Hebert, senior forecaster and TropicsWatch manager for StormGeo. “However, for 2021, initial indications are that the tropics will be just as favorable for development as they were last year. We’ve examined water temperature trends across the Atlantic and Pacific as well as long-range patterns to help identify where and how many storms may develop this season.”

According to Hebert, early indications point to above-normal hurricane season activity with a total of 19 named storms, including nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes. There also will be increased oceanic heat content, providing energy for strong storms in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

See the full StormGeo forecast for the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

“Now is the perfect time for businesses to shore up emergency weather plans and put steps into action to protect their people and assets,” said Hebert.

StormGeo recommends business implement the following tips with the start of hurricane season:

Step 1: Create a Hurricane Plan

Identify ‘triggers’ that will help you know when and how to react if a hurricane is threatening your area. Some of your triggers should be:

  • Identification of the initial hurricane threat by a meteorologist
  • Earliest likely arrival time of storm conditions
  • Forecast time of arrival of storm conditions
  • Probability of wind impact

“The most important part of your plan is to work with a professional weather service that can provide you with accurate and timely forecasts tailored to your specific location. This service will not only ensure you are their number one priority, no matter the time of day, but will provide critical information that complements your response plan so that damage and injuries are mitigated, and unnecessary actions are avoided,” said Hebert.

Step 2: Plan for Recovery After a Hurricane

Start by asking yourself two crucial questions:

  • How will the business continue to function immediately after a storm?
  • How will you communicate with staff and vendors when power and communication may be down for weeks or months after a hurricane?

Hebert says to answer these, you’ll want to factor in all potential hazards when creating your emergency response plan. The first step is to conduct a risk assessment of your business location(s). Evaluate what your potential loss of functions would be in the case of direct or indirect damage. Hurricanes are so vast, and the damage ripples out far from the eye of the storm. After determining what functions of business you could lose, you can make a list of where your priorities lie and create a plan of how those functions will be temporarily maintained.

StormGeo also recommends knowing your vendors’ response plans, as your operations could be affected if a partner vendor you depend on is impacted. It’s also good to have backups throughout your supply chain.

“It’s also crucial to keep your employees’ safety as the main priority. Have a suitable backup location that your employees can work from during the recovery phase, keep communication open by setting up a national toll-free number for employees to call, and allow them to focus on their families and homes first before they take on the challenge of recovering the business,” said Hebert.