June 6 marks the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season that extends through November 30. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year – which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season, according to Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in a news release.
NOAA's outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (tropical storm winds of 39 mph or higher get named), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.
Maine doesn't usually see many hurricanes, but in 2011 Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, still resulted in a disaster declaration in the state. Hurricanes could also affect Mainers traveling to other destinations.
To prepare for a hurricane, MEMA suggests the following measures:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Know your surroundings - especially if you are traveling in unfamiliar territory.
- Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
- Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and find out if you are in an evacuation zone by using the Maine Hurricane Dashboard. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
- Make plans to secure your property:
- If you live in a high-risk area, cover your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8" marine plywood custom cut to fit. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant. Fallen trees and tree limbs are one of the leading causes of damage and fatalities during these storms.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install a generator for emergencies.
Additional preparedness and safety information is available at www.MainePrepares.com or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.