Powered by Q1Group LLC
Education and Decision Support Tools for the Medicare Community

Storm Season 2021: Preparing for another Above-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season

Category: Your Health & Wellness
Published on 2021-05-20 15:20:03

On May 20, 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their annual prediction calling for an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season this year with "a likely range of  13 to 20 named storms" (as compared to the similar 2020 prediction of 13 to 19 named storms).  Named storms have winds of 39 mph or higher.

Of the predicted storms, 6 to 10 storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and of these hurricanes, 3 to 5 storms could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) with winds reaching 111 mph or higher.

On April 8, 2021, meteorologist at Colorado State University (CSU) also predicted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season with 17 named storms, 4 storms becoming major hurricanes, and now also show a country / parish probability of impact by storms.
(see: https://tropical.colostate.edu/resources.html)

So what is considered an "average" Atlantic Hurricane season?

NOAA states that: "[a]n average hurricane season produces 12 named storms of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes."  CSU forecasters note that the average number of named storms from 1991 to 2020 was 14.4 with 3.2 major hurricanes.

And the 2021Atlantic Hurricane Season is off to an early start . . . again.

Although the 6-month 2021 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through November 30, one named storm was already recorded: Ana.  (see: https://tropical.colostate.edu/resources.html#realtime)

How accurate are the recent NOAA Atlantic hurricane forecasts?

Looking back at the 2020 NOAA forecast

As mentioned above, NOAA predicted an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season with a chance of 13 to 19 named storms, with 6 to 10 storms becoming hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and of these hurricanes, 3 to 6 storms could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) with winds reaching 111 mph or higher.  (see https://www.noaa.gov/ media-release/ busy-atlantic-hurricane-season-predicted- for-2020)

The actual 2020 Hurricane season had a record-breaking 30 named storms, with 12 storms making landfall and 6 storms becoming major hurricanes (with sustained winds over 111 mph).  NOAA noted that the 2020 hurricane season was “the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26. This increased hurricane activity is attributed to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) — which began in 1995 — and has favored more, stronger, and longer-lasting storms since that time. Such active eras for Atlantic hurricanes have historically lasted about 25 to 40 years.”

Looking back at the 2019 NOAA forecast

NOAA predicted a near-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season with a 70% chance of 9 to 15 named storms, with 4 to 8 storms becoming hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, and of these hurricanes, 2 to 4 storms could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) with winds reaching 111 mph or higher.  (see: https://www.noaa.gov/ media-release/ noaa-predicts-near-normal- 2019-atlantic-hurricane-season)

And how accurate was NOAA's 2019 forecast?  NOAA noted that, "[o]verall, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season featured above normal activity.  Eighteen [18] named storms formed, of which six [6] became hurricanes and three [3] became major hurricanes - category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  This compares to the long-term average of twelve named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes."

The major hurricanes include Category-5 Hurricane Dorian with sustained winds of 185 mph that impacted the Bahamas in late-August 2019 causing 70 deaths with damages estimated at US$ 3.4 billion.

Looking back at the 2018 Atlantic hurricane forecast

The forecasters at NOAA predicted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2018 with a "70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms ..., of which 5 to 9 [storms] could become hurricanes ..., including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher)."

And yes, NOAA's 2018 hurricane prediction was quite accurate:
"Fifteen [15] named storms formed, of which eight [8] became hurricanes and two [2] became major hurricanes - category 3 or higher [Hurricanes Florence (140 mph max winds) and Michael (155 mph max winds)]. . .."
(https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/ MIATWSAT.shtml)

Looking back at 2017

In May 2017, NOAA predicted an above-normal 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, with a "70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 [storms] could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). [As a note: a]n average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes."

As you might know, the National Hurricane Center has rotating lists of names (organized in alphabetical order) used to identify tropical storms and hurricanes.  If a storm is especially "memorable," the hurricane name is retired from the lists.

Was the 2017 NOAA hurricane forecast accurate?  NOAA's 2017 hurricane prediction was not only accurate, but "[d]ue to the extensive damage caused in the United States and Caribbean [during 2017], the World Meteorological Organization’s Region IV Hurricane Committee has officially retired [the hurricane names "Harvey" (Cat. 4), "Irma" (Cat. 5), "Maria" (Cat. 5), and "Nate" (Cat. 1)]."

Looking back at NOAA's 2016 prediction

In May 2016, NOAA predicted a near-normal 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, with a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher).  Of these possible named storms, 4 to 8 storms could develop into hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) and include 1 to 4 major hurricanes (with winds of 111 mph or higher).

In reality, the 2016 Hurricane season turned out to be "the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes." NOAA noted:
"The strongest and longest-lived storm of the season was Matthew, which reached maximum sustained surface winds of 160 miles per hour and lasted as a major hurricane for eight days from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7.  Matthew was the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Felix in 2007."
In the United States, as the storm approached about 2 million people evacuated Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina - resulting in fairly massive traffic jams.  In the end, over 600 deaths resulted from Hurricane Matthew (mostly in the Caribbean) and, according to NOAA, the estimated financial loss attributed to Hurricane Matthew was around $10 billion dollars.

Bottom Line: Don't wait to see if the annual NOAA Hurricane Forecast is accurate, prepare now for this year's Hurricane season.

The 2021 Eastern (and Central) Pacific Hurricane Outlook

The eastern Pacific hurricane season began on May 15th and, like the Atlantic hurricane season, also ends November 30th.  The forecast from NOAA for the eastern Pacific is for a 80% combined chance of near- or below-normal season.

Specifically, the eastern Pacific outlook also calls for a 70 percent probability of 12 to 18 named storms, of which 5 to 10 storms are expected to become hurricanes, including 2 to 5 major hurricanes.

The central Pacific outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 2 to 5 tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes." (see: "NOAA's 2021 Hurricane Season Outlooks" graphic for a summary of the Central Pacific, Eastern Pacific, and Atlantic Hurricane Seasons:  https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/ products/Epac_hurr/ Slide1.JPG)

Reminder: Here are some common terms and tips from Ready.gov that you might hear during the Hurricane Season

Hurricane Watch
(hurricane conditions possible within the next 48 hrs).

Steps to take:
• Review your evacuation route(s) & listen to local officials.
• Review the items in your disaster supply kit; and add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets.

Hurricane Warning
(hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hrs).

Steps to take:
• Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given.
• Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
• Follow the hurricane timeline preparedness checklist, depending on when the storm is anticipated to hit and the impact that is projected for your location.

The added importance of advanced preparation: The 2021 Hurricane Season amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

As was true last year, NOAA reminds people to prepare early for hurricanes and other natural disasters due to the added CDC guidance dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

What to do when a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving

• Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
• Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
• Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
• Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
• Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

What to do when a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving

• Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
• Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
• Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

What to do when a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving

• Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
• Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

What to do when a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving

• If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
• Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
• Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
• Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

What to do after a Hurricane

• Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
• Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
• Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
• Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
• Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
• Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
• Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
• Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

More Details about preparing for Hurricane Season

If you would like to learn how to prepare for the hurricane season, take a look at the suggestions provided on the NOAA Hurricane Preparedness site: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ prepare/ready.php and https://www.weather.gov/wrn/ hurricane-preparedness, and ready.gov.

Also, here are also a few tips from the Florida Disaster Preparedness Guide for Elders (found at: http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/ doea/disaster.php): http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/ doea/pubs/EU/EUdisaster2015/ Disaster_Guide_2015_English_Web.pdf
  • Educate yourself and know where you want to go
    Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and location of emergency shelters.  For example, during Hurricane Matthew, many of the barriers islands along the eastern coast were evacuated and residents were required to show passes or car tags for readmission onto the islands. Check with your local authorities to see whether your community requires some form of pass or identification after an evacuation.

  • Be aware of potential home hazards
    Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water or a fallen power line, or before you evacuate.  Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate.  Secure structurally unstable materials (building material, grills, and propane tanks).

  • Own a fire extinguisher (and know how to use it)
    Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it.  If you have an older extinguisher (over a year old), be sure that it is still functional and inspected by a professional.

  • Secure important documents
    Locate and secure your important papers, such as insurance policies, wills, licenses, and stock certificates.

  • Collect contact information
    Post emergency phone numbers at every telephone or save the number in your mobile phone.  Some examples of important numbers include your insurance agent, local hospitals, local utilities, local law enforcement, and fire/rescue.

  • Do you or someone in the house have special needs?
    Inform local authorities if your household includes someone with special needs (such as, a person who is bed-ridden or disabled and has mobility issues).

  • Prepare a disaster supply kit
    Stock your home, car, and workplace with supplies that may be needed during the emergency period (such as, food, water, prescriptions, and non-prescription medications). You should stock food and water for a minimum of a three-day period.  If you are diabetic, be sure to have a means to keep your medications cool while traveling or during a power outage (such as a well-insulated mini-cooler).  If you have a pet, look now for a pet-friendly shelter and have pet supplies ready.  Do not forget to have some cash on hand as ATM and credit card readers may not be functional if there is no electricity.  The government's site (https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit) provides some additional information.

    FEMA's Basic Disaster Supply Kit includes: 

    • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
    • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
    • Manual can opener for food supplies
    • Local maps
    • Cell phone with chargers, automobile power inverters / adapters or solar charger
Sources Include:


Medicare Supplements
fill the gaps in your
Original Medicare
1. Enter Your ZIP Code:
» Medicare Supplement FAQs

Pets are Family Too!
Use your drug discount card to save on medications for the entire family ‐ including your pets.

  • No enrollment fee and no limits on usage
  • Everyone in your household can use the same card, including your pets
Your drug discount card is available to you at no cost.

Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.