Hurricane season began June 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an above-average Atlantic season for the seventh consecutive year.
Here's everything you need to know to be prepared for the weeks to come.
What's the forecast for hurricane season?
The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. With 70% confidence, NOAA is forecasting a range of 14 to 21 named storms. Six to 10 of those could become hurricanes, including three to six category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes.
This increase of activity is largely attributed to an ongoing La Niña, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon. The enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly waves, which cause many of the strongest hurricanes during most seasons, according to NOAA.
The 2021 Atlantic tropical cyclone names selected by the World Meteorological Organization include: Alex, Bonnie, Clin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobia, Virginie, Walter.
"Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready," NOAA Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said. "Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around the clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed."
Here's the Caller-Times 2022 Hurricane Guide
Take a look at this guide to how to get prepared, track storms, and what to do if a hurricane makes landfall in South Texas.
History of hurricanes in the Coastal Bend
In 2021, Tropical Storm Nicholas formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, strengthening to a hurricane before it made landfall in Matagorda County. The storm brought winds and several inches of rain to the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast, resulting in mass power outages and flash flooding.
Hurricane Hanna made landfall on Padre Island on July 25, 2020. The Category 1 storm left tens of thousands of people without power, put sections of North Beach underwater and took down a portion of the iconic Bob Hall Pier.
On Aug. 26, 2017, Category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall east of Rockport before returning to sea and making a second, weaker landfall on the Texas coast.
How to prepare for hurricane season
According to a 2021 FEMA survey, only 43% of residents at risk of hurricanes have created emergency plans for disasters.
The National Weather Service recommends the following home preparation tips:
Know the elevation of your home and if you're in a flood or evacuation zone.
Check mobile home tie-downs for rust and breakage. Mobile home residents should evacuate when told.
Trim trees and shrubbery and replace broken fencing.
Inspect the roof for loose shingles. Consider replacing old shingles with new ones rated for hurricane winds. Clear clogged rain gutters.
Reinforce garage doors or replace with a hurricane-tested door.
Reinforce double entry doors with heavy duty foot and head bolts
Use a security deadbolt with one inch maximum bolt length
Install hurricane shutters, if possible, and inspect existing shutters
Use 5/8-inch or greater exterior grade plywood secured by 2 1/2-inch screws to board windows.
Store lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects.
If leaving, turn off propane tanks, unplug small appliances, empty refrigerator and freezer, turn off utilities if told, lock home and take pets with you.
If staying, close storm shutters, notify family members of plans, lower swimming pool water level by 1 foot, turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting and only open if necessary, stay away from boarded windows, stay in a safe room such as a closet, bathroom or hallway.
The American Red Cross recommends having these items in your hurricane supply kit:
At least a seven-day supply of non-perishable food and water. One gallon of water per person per day is recommended.
Battery-powered portable television or radio with extra batteries.
Flashlight with extra batteries.
First Aid kit and manual.
Sanitation and hygiene items such as instant hand sanitizing gel, moist towelettes, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.
Phone car charger.
Kitchen accessories, cooking utensils, and manual can opener.
Extra clothing, blankets, and sleeping bags.
Matches in a waterproof container.
Photocopies of identification, insurance, prescriptions, household inventory, credit cards and your latest utility bill.
Photocopies of important documents such as birth/marriage certificates and titles. Also, upload key documents to a cloud storage system or save on a thumb drive or other device.
Prescription medications, eyeglasses, contact lens solution and hearing aid batteries.
Formula, baby food, diapers and pacifiers.
A good map showing county roads and highways.
Tire repair kit, booster cables, pump and flares.
White distress flag.
Toys and games for children.
List of family phone numbers and addresses outside the area.
Before the storm:
Make sure you understand what's covered and excluded in your policy, and that your coverage can replace your home and contents.
Find out if your policy covers temporary living expenses in case your home is unlivable due to damage.
Prepare written or photographed inventory of your belongings and keep in a safe place with your policy.
After the storm:
Photograph or video damaged property and make a list of damaged or lost items.
DO NOT throw out damaged property before your adjuster inspects the debris.
Keep an accurate record of temporary repair and living expenses.
What about furry friends?
For those with pets, it's important to prepare and pack a variety of items that will ensure the health and safety of your animals during an extreme weather event.
Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and have proof they are current. DO NOT assume that a public shelter or hotel will accept your pet.
Have a current photo of your pet.
Each animal should have a pet carrier large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around.
Enough food and bottled water for the duration of your evacuation. DO NOT let your pet eat food or drink water from outside that may have become contaminated.
Any medications, a muzzle, collar, leash, paper towels and trash bags.
Make sure your pet has a proper ID collar.
How Nueces County Emergency Management is preparing
Residents should be preparing for hurricane season right now and avoid reacting without a plan, Louie M. Ray Jr. said.
"Store up on those life-saving supplies," the Nueces County emergency management coordinator said. "Have a route and have a plan. Communicate that plan from the oldest to the youngest. If Mom and Dad make a plan, bring the family in and talk about it. Talk about safe spots, phone numbers and where important papers are. Have those papers in a location where you can put them in a waterproof bag just in case you need to."
The emergency management team Ray runs is in charge of how to reduce loss, protect infrastructure and support the environment from all hazards. It responds to the community's needs before, during and after disaster and emergency situations.
Ray said his team, through the Emergency Operations Center, is planning to exercise their knowledge through drills to be better prepared.
Ray said residents who are considered medically fragile should register with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry.
The free program provides local emergency planners and emergency responders additional information on the needs in their community.
"It lets us know where our medically fragile people are," Ray said. "They may need power and they may need help. It helps us understand who may need help evacuating if the time comes. It gives us a pinpoint."
The program is aimed to help people who have disabilities, limited mobility, communication barriers or require additional medical assistance during an emergency event, transportation assistance or personal care assistance.
To register, visit tdem.texas.gov/response/state-of-texas-emergency-assistance-registry.
Ray said the program also helps residents who may need generators in case of a power outage.
"Hospitals have their own supplemented power supply that can help them maintain power during an outage," Ray said. "We are prepared to help them if for someone reason their personal power goes out."
In the event of an evacuation, Ray said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales makes the final call, which would come well before a storm makes landfall.
"Just be prepared," Ray said. "It's better to be safe than sorry."
Ashlee Burns covers trending and breaking news in South Texas. See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Hurricane season 2022: Your South Texas storm guide