What You Need to Know to Protect Your Travels This Hurricane Season
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June 1 marks the beginning of the North Atlantic hurricane season. As if on cue, a tropical disturbance is brewing off the coast of Mexico that threatens to soak Texas this week.
Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30 — although we’ve experienced storms before and after the official season. The peak of hurricane season is in September, so it’s a good idea to avoid planning a trip to Florida or the Caribbean during this time.
But, hurricanes aren’t limited to Florida and the Caribbean, a point that was hammered home last year with the highly destructive Hurricane Florence swept through the Carolinas. Thousands of flights were canceled and nine airports shut down entirely as this storm impacted two critical airline hubs: Charlotte (CLT) and Atlanta (ATL).
While it’s always a good idea to book flights with a card that provides travel protections, this is especially important during hurricane season. In July 2017, my trip to Japan was involuntarily extended by four days when a typhoon swept through and canceled all flights. Last-minute hotel rates helped push our expenses for the four days over $1,000. Thankfully I put the flight taxes/fees on my Citi Prestige Card and our first $1,000 of expenses — $500 per person — were reimbursed.
The National Hurricane Center gives the tropical disturbance currently in the Gulf a 60% chance of developing into a tropical system. While it might reach tropical depression status, most models forecast that it won’t become the first named storm of the year. However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t affect the United States.
Especially for such an undeveloped system, the models are in surprising agreement about the path of the storm. By Wednesday morning, the storm is forecast to be centered over south Texas before moving north through Houston and then up the Mississippi River.
As only so much forecasting can be done by satellite, an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance on Sunday. If you’ve ever wondered about these aircraft, I recently got a chance to tour the inside of both the Air Force and NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft and learn from the crews themselves what it’s like to fly through a hurricane.
Curious if a hurricane is going to share your name this year? Here are the names that will be used this year:
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is “predicting that a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year.” Two opposite factors are expected to net each other out: a warmer Atlantic will fuel more storms while El Nino will suppress the intensity of the season.
In a normal hurricane season, there are typically 12 tropical storms, half of which become hurricanes, with three of those becoming major hurricanes (winds of 111+ mph). Officially, the 2019 forecast is a range of 9-15 tropical storms, 4-8 hurricanes and 2-4 major hurricanes.
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