The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is increasing its Atlantic hurricane season outlook despite it being over a month since a new storm has formed. The new outlook calls for 15-21 named storms, 7-10 of which are predicted to be hurricanes. This is up from the original prediction of 13-20 named storms and 6-10 hurricanes. NOAA is giving a 65% probability of having an above-average season.

NOAA did not budge on their model for major hurricanes, which still stands at 3-5 storms that are Category 3 or higher.

Elsa was the last major storm and formed on July 1st. The storm dissipated eight days later and brought heavy rainfall and winds to some areas, including the now infamous scenes of some New York City subway stations flooding. It also set a record as the earliest “E-named” storm to ever form.

Despite the recent lull in tropical activity, the experts at NOAA are leaning on the combination of a low vertical wind shear, a strong African monsoon, and above-average sea surface temperatures as the basis for increasing the number of predicted storms. NOAA believes these factors will create a favorable environment for storm development as we get closer to peak hurricane season. Tropical Storm Fred recently formed, dissipated into a tropical wave, and now expected to get back to tropical storm status as it heads towards the northern Gulf Coast.

There is some saving grace, as forecasters noted that sea surface temperatures are not as high as they were at this point in the season last year. This could help keep the number of storms below the 30 we saw during the last hurricane season.

Policyholders need to take necessary precautions now before they are hit with a large hurricane. We recommend checking your insurance policy to determine whether you have adequate coverage for your property. Policyholders should also develop a plan of action for securing their property and keeping their families safe in case of flooding.

We have created a Hurricane Checklist detailing proactive steps policyholders can take to get ahead of any potential hurricane insurance claims. Please stay safe as this hurricane season continues and pay attention to local evacuation orders. Should your home sustain hurricane damage and you need assistance with your insurance claim, know that Merlin Law Group is here to assist.