HOLT, Fla., June 1, 2018–Today is the official beginning of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
With Subtropical Storm Alberto’s arrival last week, it appears the season began early.
And for some, it may seem like last year’s season just ended because of the number of major hurricanes that caused so much damage in the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States.
Last year’s season produced 17 named storms. Of the 17, 10 developed into hurricanes with six of them becoming major storms.
2017 was also the costliest season on record, surpassing the previous record-holding 2005 season.
Last season marked the first time in 12 years two major hurricanes hit the continental U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Three major hurricanes made landfall–Harvey in Texas, Irma in the Caribbean and southeastern U.S. and Maria in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.
Harvey was also the first major hurricane to hit the U.S. since Wilma struck Florida in October 2005.
Additionally, four other storms hit the United States, including Cindy in Texas, Emily and Phillipe in Florida and Nate in Mississippi.
To top it off, Tropical Storm Arlene occurred in April before the season officially started.
All these storms made 2017 the seventh most active season in historical record keeping.
Since 1878, when the U.S. Signal Service Corps began tracking hurricanes, through last year’s season, Florida has been impacted by 99 hurricanes of varying strength.
In a state-by-state comparison, it’s no secret Florida has had more than its share of hurricanes–43 more than Texas, the next highest state for storms. Florida is surrounded by water on nearly every side and takes hurricane hits from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Since this area is not directly on the coast, storm surge isn’t one of the hurricane hazards people around here are overly concerned with.
However, other hurricane-related hazards–tornados, strong winds and inland flooding–can affect this area. And these can occur along the outer bands of incoming storms.
With the Yellow River just to the south and Blackwater River to the west and north, flooding associated with high amounts of rainfall can become an issue for some.
Tornadoes spinning out of outer rain bands, though short-lived, can be another concern during hurricanes.
In 2004 when Ivan hit this area, the storm produced 117 tornadoes with 18 of those in Florida, killing seven people and inuring eight in the state.
Today also begins the disaster preparedness sales tax holiday to encourage people to stock up on hurricane supplies.
Batteries, radios, coolers, tarps, generators and other supplies are all tax free this week.
With another hurricane season beginning, already jump-started by Alberto, it might be time to take advantage of this week-long tax event.