2021 Hurricane Season
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.
“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”
WXXV Weather Authority App
If your power goes out during a storm, stay informed with the FREE WXXV Weather Authority App on your phone and a weather radio tuned to our iHeart Radio partners (Magic 93.7, WBUV 104.9 & K99 Country). Visit your phone or iPad’s App Store to download. Search “WXXV” to find both our weather and news apps. The WXXV Weather Authority App is powered by Accuweather and features live radar, storm tracking, links to our latest weather forecasts, 7-day forecasts, and can be adjusted for anywhere on the globe you may travel!
Q: How do I turn on my Tropical Overlay?
A: From the main radar screen locate and press the three vertical dots in a circle near the bottom right corner. Select “Overlays” then “Tropical Tracks” and you’re all set! Zoom out to see any tropical threats in the Gulf or Atlantic and their tracks.
Early Preparation is the Key!
Whether you plan to Stay or to Evacuate, keep your Hurricane Kit and its contents up-to-date:
What to Include in your Hurricane Kit:
cooler, ice, car chargers for phones/devices, cash (ATMs and banks will be closed), tire repair kit, medication, insurance papers, important documents in waterproof container, photo albums, hard drives/backup drives/laptops, thick leather gardening gloves, plastic gloves, cleaning supplies, tools, tarps or plastic sheeting, dust mask, staple gun, generator, extension cords, batteries, hand saw to cut small limbs, garbage bags, flashlights/lanterns, duct tape, first aid kit (including bandages & band-aids – multiple sizes, thermometer, alcohol swabs, burn cream, self cooling ice pack, medication for: pain relief, antiseptic for cuts, sunburn cream, itch cream, anti-diarrhea, antacids or laxatives), asthma medications, birth control and epi-pens if needed, eyeglasses and contact lens solution, (infant formula, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream,) battery powered fan, weather radio, sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, grill or camp stove, propane for grill, gas for generator, fill car gas tank, sleeping bags, complete change of clothing for each person, close-toed study shoes for each person, fire extinguisher, matches, feminine hygiene products, paper plates, plastic utensils, books/games/activities for children
Ready.gov/kit for more ideas.
- Find out if you’re in a flood zone – Contact your insurance provider
- Prepare for long power outages, water/sewer outages, and boil water notices.
- Take photos of your house/contents for insurance
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed, cook or throw out perishable foods first. “when in doubt throw it out”
- In addition to the complete Hurricane Kit listed above, your Food Supply should include:
- 1 gallon of potable water per person per day (drinking and sanitation needs),
Food ( at least a three day supply) i.e. canned goods, canned meat, canned fruit & vegetables, bread, peanut butter, jelly, dry cereal, granola, dried fruit, can opener, food for infants (formula, jarred baby food), protein or cereal bars, juice/gatorade, comfort foods, mixed nuts
- Secure your home. Use sand bags to prevent minor flooding around doors, fit your windows for hurricane shutters (links to how to secure plywood into stucco, brick, siding, etc), clean up and put away yard debris/outdoor furniture (that trampoline your kids never use), secure outdoor potted plants, garden tools, etc.
- For a list of local sand bag stations: Check out your local county EMA website
If you go –
Plan Your Evacuation Route. Here is the latest map from MDOT showing possible evacuation routes. Evacuate North rather than East or West (a storm’s path may fluctuate). MDOT Evacuation Map
- Help Elderly or impaired family or friends to create an evacuation plan and pack their essentials.
- Notify friends, family, and your employer of your plans and evacuation route in case cell tower damage limits cell phone reception.
- Before leaving your house – Take photos of your house/contents and property for insurance, turn off water supply to house at valve, lock all doors and windows, turn off all lights, unplug electronics to prevent power surge damage.
- Make a Plan for your Pets and large animals. If you evacuate, take them with you. Remember to pack the following: food & water bowls, medication, 2 weeks of food, leash, kennel or safe way to travel in car, blanket/towel, bed, shampoo, treats/toy, find pet friendly hotel (list of hotels)
- Remember your Medications. Take a two week supply of prescription medications when you evacuate. If your pharmacy is damaged or destroyed they will need time to transfer your prescriptions to another pharmacy.
- Secure your home. Use sand bags to prevent minor flooding around doors, fit your windows for hurricane shutters (links to how to secure plywood into stucco, brick, siding, etc), clean up and put away yard debris/outdoor furniture (that trampoline your kids never use), secure outdoor potted plants, garden tools, etc
After the Storm Passes:
The danger is not passed after the storm blows through. Downed power lines, loose tree limbs, debris, wildlife, insects, sun and exposure can all pose a risk to your health and safety.
Give first responders and clean-up crews time to clear roadways and power lines before attempting to return to your home. Visit your power company’s web page for an update on outages and repairs in your area.
Inspect your property for dangling tree limbs to avoid or remove. Avoid downed power lines or trees laying on lines. Do not attempt to climb onto your roof without someone to help spot you and hold your ladder.
Before you attempt to clean up storm debris – make sure your tetanus shots are up to date. Wear thick gloves and remember to move debris carefully – snakes and other wildlife may be hiding underneath. Wear sunscreen and bug spray while working outside.
Hurricane Categories and Their Damage Potential
Hurricanes are measured by something called the Saffir-Simpson Scale. This categorizes hurricane wind speed, which is an accurate way to tell how much damage you can expect from a storm. We’ll explore the different hurricane categories damage below, but first we need to take a look at tropical depressions and storms.
Tropical Depressions and Storms
Tropical depressions are storms which have wind speeds of less than 39 mph or 34 knots. Tropical storms have wind speeds of between 39 and 119 mph (34 and 64 knots). While neither of these quite hit hurricane wind speed levels, they’re still extremely dangerous. You can expect:
• Shaking and bending of trees, poles, bushes, and other objects
• Potential power outages as a result of damage to powerlines
• Rain and potential flooding
• Falling debris
Category 1 has hurricane wind speeds between 74 and 95 mph (64 and 82 knots). This is considered dangerous and expected to produce some hurricane damage, including everything listed above and:
• Roof damage – shingles, tiles, gutters, etc. damaged
• Some trees snapping and breaking
• Heavy rain and flooding
Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 96 and 110 mph (83 and 95 knots). These hurricanes are considered dangerous and can result in the following damage:
• Major roof damage
• Many trees snapping, breaking, and being uprooted
• Power outages lasting up to several weeks
Category 3 and above are considered major hurricanes. These are extremely dangerous and produce significant hurricane damage. Category 3 storms have sustained hurricane wind speeds between 111 and 129 mph (96 and 112 knots). They can lead to all of the damage already mentioned and more, including:
• The compete removal of roofs, siding, decks, and other outer fixtures
• Major environmental damage – flying debris, trees being lifted into the air, etc.
• Significant flooding
• Power outages and the loss of clean water services
Category 4 hurricanes have wind speeds of between 130 and 156 mph (113 and 136 knots). These are devastating in nature and can lead to:
• Severe structural damage to homes – collapsed roofs and walls
• Deadly flying debris
• Heavy rains and floods
• Power outages, loss of clean water, and more lasting several weeks or months
Category 5 hurricanes have wind speeds over 157 mph (137 knots). These produce the most hurricane damage, lead to the largest loss of human life, and are catastrophic in all areas. Expect the following types of devastation:
• Destroyed homes
• Months without power and water
• A generally uninhabitable area
Important Websites –
MDOT – https://mdot.ms.gov/
FEMA – https://www.fema.gov/
County EMA Offices
Harrison County – http://co.harrison.ms.us/departments/ema/
Hancock County – https://www.hancockcounty.ms.gov/departments/emergency-management-e-911-fire-department/
George County – http://www.georgecountyms.com/public_safety.html
Jackson County – https://www.co.jackson.ms.us/224/Office-of-Emergency-Services
Stone County – http://www.stonecountygov.com/emergency-management
Pearl River County – https://www.pearlrivercounty.net/civdef/
Coast Electric – https://coastepa.com/
MS Power – https://www.mississippipower.com/
Singing River Electric – https://singingriver.com/
AT&T – https://www.att.com/local/mississippi
C-Spire – www.cspire.com
Verizon – https://www.verizon.com/support/
National Hurricane Center – https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
National Weather Service – https://www.weather.gov/