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2016 Hurricane Season and Fuel Emergency Preparedness: Businesses Eye the Weather Warily

Posted by: Erik Bjornstad

Hurricane season starts on June 1st and is slated to last through the end of November.  Each year around this time, the National Weather Service and other entities (like Colorado State University) publish their “official” projections for the upcoming hurricane season.  The theme for this year is something like “it will probably be about average, but we really don’t know”.  Not that helpful for businesses trying to prepare for the possibilities, but you go with what you have.

emergency-fuel-preparedness.jpgThis year, they’re predicting storm numbers right near the historical averages. For the predictions below, the first numbers are the number predicted for 2016, the second numbers in parenthesis are the historical averages.

Named Storms: 14 (12)

Hurricanes: 8 (6)

Major Hurricanes (Cat. 3+): 4 (3)

U.S. Landfalls: 3

It Just Takes One

When it’s your responsibility to keep things going or to make sure essential systems and services are there no matter what, your concern isn’t whether there are a few or a lot of storms. Your concern is how many of those are going to show up on land and cause you headaches.  And unless you just fell off the apple cart, you know that it only takes one big storm to cause problems.  Some years (like 2010) had a bunch of hurricanes, but none of them hit land to be a concern. Other years (like 1992), there were relatively few, but everyone remembers the ones like Hurricane Andrew.  It just takes one to throw a wrench in your business plans.

So you never can tell about these things. That means you always need to be prepared for the worst.

“We Don’t Really Know” – Look Out for La Nina

Meterologists are also telling us that it’s entirely possible this year’s hurricane season could actually be a lot worse than just 3 hurricanes.  That’s because the La Nina weather pattern (the sister to El Nino) has the real possibility of hitting the U.S. this year. If that happens, it will bring dry weather to the southeast, which increases the chances of hurricanes hitting the area. So if you’re hoping for a quiet hurricane season (and who isn’t?) then you’re going to have to root against La Nina.

Strategies To Get Ready

Anyone who would be seriously inconvenienced by the damaging effects of a hurricane should have a strategy for hurricane readiness.  Anyone in charge of stored fuels, generators and emergency backup systems should definitely have a fuel emergency preparedness strategy.  The biggest issue with stored fuel during a hurricane is making sure that it will do what you need it to do. If you haven’t tested the fuel you will be using during a hurricane-induced emergency, now is the time to do it. If you haven’t treated the fuel to protect it during the summer, now is the time to do it. Because there’s no guarantee a hurricane is going to strike at the beginning of the season in June or July. Maybe it waits until September or October. If you haven’t prepared for that possibility, you may have had fuel problems festering all summer, waiting to strike.

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This post was published on May 18, 2016 and was updated on May 18, 2016.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, Fuel Storage