Hurricane Season is around the corner and the water is setting record temperature highs from Texas to Florida

Sea Surface Temps

Important Takeaways:

  • Gulf of Mexico waters are hottest on record as coastal areas cook
  • The entire Gulf Coast region is seeing its hottest August on record so far, and many locations are also seeing their warmest year to date.
  • New Orleans also just finished its hottest seven-day stretch and has set record highs on 12 straight days (through Aug. 14).
  • Like land areas that surround it, the Gulf of Mexico has been running hot all year. Recent data indicate coastal water temperatures of at least 90 degrees from Texas to Florida.
  • “The Gulf of Mexico this week is the hottest it’s been at any point in any year on record by a wide margin,” Lowry tweeted.
  • The warm water has boosted the humidity along the Gulf Coast and kept overnight temperatures at record-high levels. New Orleans and Baton Rouge have already registered 11 record warm lows this month. And Houston and Orlando have each seen 10.
  • At the same time, there are signs the hurricane season may be about to awaken. Already, there are concerning signs that a disturbance could move into the gulf early next week. If it does, it will have exceptionally warm waters to fuel it. Certainly something to keep an eye on.

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NOAA says there’s a 60% chance for above-average hurricane activity

Hurricane Don

Important Takeaways:

  • Record hot ocean temps could turbocharge the hurricane season, says NOAA
  • NOAA scientists on Thursday forecast this year has a 60% chance of above-average hurricane activity, up from their previous estimate of a 30% chance.
  • The two primary and driving factors that will determine the strength of the hurricane season are the El Niño weather pattern, which tends to inhibit tropical storm activity, and record-warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic, which tends to increase it.
  • The sea surface temperature for June and July in the main region where tropical storms develop in the North Atlantic was the warmest since NOAA records began in 1950.

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Be prepared Hurricane Season is approaching; don’t be caught without supplies

Hurricane Preparedness

Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves

Important Takeaways:

  • Hurricane season begins June 1, consumers urged to get supplies now
  • Hurricane season officially begins June 1, but officials urge consumers to stock up on supplies now to make sure their families have what they need to avoid a mad rush at the store.
  • Officials also urge consumers to be mindful of the potential for tornadic activity.
  • According to the American Red Cross, families should have enough non-perishable food at home to last about two weeks. Those who choose to evacuate should have food supplies that are easy to prepare, like canned goods.
  • Families are reminded to check expiration dates if they have food items left over from the previous hurricane season.
  • Families should simply purchase enough water for their households. The recommendation is one gallon per person, per day in the household (3-day supply for those evacuating, 2-week supply for those staying at home).
  • Cleaning supplies, flashlights, extra chargers, first aid kits, and personal hygiene products are among the most important items to also have on hand. Extra batteries are highly recommended in case the power goes out for extended periods of time.
  • Also, when shopping, families should ensure they have enough necessary items for other family members. These supplies include baby supplies, diapers, wipes, and pet supplies. Toys and games are good to have as well.
  • Something consumers might not think about right away is medication for their families.
  • Important documents, insurance information, family contact information, extra cash, and other essential paperwork are also good to have on hand in case of an emergency.

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Hurricane Season around the corner; Experts say ‘be prepared’ could look like 2017

Hurricane Season Sign

Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves

Important Takeaways:

  • Forecasters: 2023 Will Be a ‘Very Active’ Hurricane Season
  • Forecasters expect a hurricane season similar to 2017, one of the worst and most costly on record.
  • The forecasters expect the number of major hurricanes this year to be similar to 2017, which saw the extremely intense hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
  • “We are not expecting this to be as damaging as 2017,” Zeng says. That said, he emphasizes that “people should get prepared.”
  • “This will be a very active hurricane season. That’s our message,” says Zeng, adding that the East Coast and Gulf Coast are typically the regions where hurricanes have the greatest impacts.
  • at the same time, the ocean surface temperature over the Atlantic this year will also be very warm, and that tends to increase hurricane activities, Zeng adds.
  • The forecasting team is not yet certain which ocean basin will be the “winner” in the battle and will update its predictions in June.

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Forecasters watching potential development of a weather system that could become a cyclone

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Hurricane Season Has Been Unusually Quiet—But Forecasters Are Watching A Potential Cyclone
  • The weather system has a 50% chance of turning into a tropical cyclone—a category that includes tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes—in the next two days, and an 80% chance of developing over the next five days, the NHC said in a Monday outlook.
  • The system is currently “producing a large area of disorganized cloudiness and showers,” according to the NHC, and it’s expected to gradually develop this week as it moves toward the Caribbean at a speed of five to 10 miles per hour.
  • If the disturbance eventually turns into a tropical storm, it’ll be the first since early July and the fourth this year, earning the name Tropical Storm Danielle (tropical storms need wind speeds of 39 to 73 miles per hour, compared to milder tropical depressions).
  • The NHC is also tracking three other disturbances in the Atlantic and Caribbean, including systems near West Africa, Bermuda and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, but forecasters give them a less-than-50% chance of developing into cyclones in five days.

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‘We need food’: heavy rains lash Haiti quake survivors

By Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo

LES CAYES, Haiti (Reuters) -The search for survivors of a weekend earthquake that killed more than 1,400 people on Haiti resumed on Tuesday after an overnight storm battered thousands left homeless with heavy rain before the weather front moved on.

The quake brought down tens of thousands of buildings in the poorest country in the Americas, which is still recovering from a temblor 11 years ago that killed over 200,000 people, and flooding caused by the storm has complicated rescue efforts.

By Tuesday morning, only a light rain was falling over Les Cayes, the southern coastal city that bore the brunt of the 7.2 magnitude quake after Tropical Storm Grace had dumped torrential rains and caused flooding in at least one region.

At a tent city in Les Cayes containing many children and babies, over a hundred people scrambled to repair makeshift coverings made of wooden poles and tarps that were destroyed by Grace overnight. Some took cover under plastic sheets.

Mathieu Jameson, deputy head of the committee formed by the tent city residents, said hundreds of people there were in urgent need of food, shelter and medical care.

“We don’t have a doctor. We don’t have food. Every morning more people are arriving. We have no bathroom, no place to sleep. We need food, we need more umbrellas,” said Jameson, adding the tent city was still waiting for government aid.

Haiti’s latest natural disaster comes just over a month after Haiti was plunged into political turmoil by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7.

Several major hospitals were severely damaged, hampering humanitarian efforts, as were the focal points of many shattered communities, such as churches and schools.

Haitian authorities said on Monday that 1,419 deaths had been confirmed, with some 6,900 people injured.

As hopes began to dim of finding significant numbers of survivors among the wreckage, the storm impeded rescuers in the seaside city of Les Cayes, about 150 km (90 miles) west of the capital Port-au-Prince, which bore the brunt of the quake.

By early morning, Grace, which had been forecast to dump up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain on parts of the country, had moved past Haiti and was advancing on the coast of Jamaica, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Centre.

Rescue workers were digging alongside residents through the rubble on Monday evening in a bid to reach bodies, though few voiced hope of finding anyone alive. A smell of dust and decomposing bodies permeated the air.

“We came from all over to help: from the north, from Port-au Prince, from everywhere,” said Maria Fleurant, a firefighter from northern Haiti.

Emergency workers pulled a blood-stained pillow from the rubble, followed by the corpse of a three-year-old boy who appeared to have died in his sleep during the earthquake.

Shortly after, as the rain intensified, the workers left.


With about 37,312 houses destroyed by the quake, according to Haitian authorities, and many of those still unexcavated, the death toll is expected to rise.

Vital Jaenkendy, who watched as a bulldozer shifted rubble from his collapsed apartment building, said eight residents had died and four were missing.

Jaenkendy and others have been sleeping under a tarpaulin on a dirt road nearby, and were hunkering down for the rains.

“When the storm comes, we’ll take shelter in car ports of the houses nearby, just until it passes, and then we’ll return to our place in the road,” he said.

Doctors battled in makeshift tents outside hospitals to save the lives of hundreds of injured, including young children and the elderly.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was sworn in less then a month ago after Moise’s assassination, vowed to disburse humanitarian aid better than in the wake of the 2010 quake.

Though billions of dollars in aid money poured into Haiti after that quake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, many Haitians say they saw scant benefits from the uncoordinated efforts: government bodies remained weak, amid persistent shortages of food and basic goods.

“The earthquake is a great misfortune that happens to us in the middle of the hurricane season,” Henry told reporters, adding that the government would not repeat “the same things” done in 2010.

(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Ricardo Arduengo in Les Cayes, Haiti;Additional reporting by Herbert Villarraga and Robenson Sanon in Les Cayes; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Clarence Fernandez and Giles Elgood)

U.S. government forecasts above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON (Reuters) -The U.S. government on Thursday forecast an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which is already off to an early start with a storm expected to form off Bermuda this week.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast between three and five major hurricanes, with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 kph), will form in 2021.

Between six and 10 hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph (119 kph) are expected out of 13-20 tropical storms in 2021, NOAA forecasters said. Tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph (63 kph).

The average for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic between 1991 and 2020 is three major hurricanes, seven hurricanes and 14 tropical storms. The average increased after NOAA shifted the 30-year period used to set the averages earlier this year.

The 2020 hurricane season was the most active on record and produced 30 named tropical storms.

Matthew Rosencrans, head of forecasting for the U.S. National Weather Service, said climate change affects storm intensity.

“Climate change has not been linked to the frequency of storms but is has been linked to the intensity of storms,” Rosencrans said.

Academic and commercial meteorologists have also predicted an above-average season for 2021, but not as busy as 2020 because of an end to the La Nina system that promotes storm formation.

Although the hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and continues through Nov. 30, tropical storms in May are not unusual.

“In recent years, we’ve had quite a few storms form prior to June 1,” said Philip Klotzbach, who leads Atlantic hurricane season forecasting at Colorado State University. “Since 2015, we’ve had at least one named storm form prior to June 1 each year.”

There have been 19 named storms in May since 1950, Klotzbach said.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba, additional reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Marguerita Choy and Andrew Heavens)

Between two storms: Caribbean braces for hurricanes in coronavirus era

By Sarah Marsh and Rodrigo Campos

HAVANA/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ken Hutton is worried Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas where he lives is far from rebuilt after being devastated by Hurricane Dorian last year yet he is bracing for another hurricane season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The business consultant feels lucky to have survived Dorian, which tore the hurricane shutters off his house and sucked out the windows.

Yet there is still no running water or power in his area – he relies on a generator and a well – and many of the organizations that had been helping to rebuild suspended work because of the pandemic.

“We are still in no position to be ready for another hurricane,” he told Reuters Tuesday. Already, the Caribbean has been hit by two tropical storms before the official start of the hurricane season on June 1, one of which started right over the Bahamas, Hutton added.

“There are lots of people walking around here now with post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said.

Hurricane Dorian caused $3.4 billion in damages – more than a quarter of the annual output of the Bahamas or the equivalent of the United States losing the combined outputs of California, Texas and Florida, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Across the Caribbean, island nations are now facing the double whammy of a hurricane season forecast to be more active than usual combined with a pandemic that has already drained public coffers and leveled tourism, one of its top earners.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week forecast 13-19 named storms this year, following 18 named storms last year and 15 in 2018, both above the average of 12.

But the Caribbean has used up much of the fiscal buffers it would usually have readied to respond to hurricane season, Caribbean Development Bank President Warren Smith said.

Countries have tapped typical sources of external emergency financing, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to respond to the coronavirus crisis, further limiting their funding options.

Meanwhile, new health protocols for hurricane season prep comes at an added cost. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has revised guidelines to prevent the virus’ spread, including social distancing, personal protective equipment and hand cleaning facilities in shelters, said CDEMA head Elizabeth Riley.

“We can’t put as many people into a shelter (with social distancing), which means we must have many more shelters available,” St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told Reuters.


Caribbean nations have had to absorb the high costs of managing virus outbreaks even as they have lost revenue from the stop in tourism caused by border closures and lockdowns, while also being forced to provide a welfare safety net to more people.

The economic outlook does not look set to improve any time soon, with the Caribbean facing a regional contraction of 6.2 % according to the IMF.

“Small island states rely heavily on tourism and remittances. Both are now at a standstill,” United Nations head Antonio Guterres said on Thursday. “Households that had a secure income are at imminent risk of poverty and hunger.”

He added that alleviating “crushing” debt “must be extended to all developing and middle-income countries” that request forbearance as they lose access to their main financial markets.

But it is not all doom and gloom. In Cuba, a meme went viral on social media in recent weeks appearing to present a duel for television airtime between the country’s chief epidemiologist and its most renowned weatherman as they cover the two crises.

The weatherman, Jose Rubiera, told Reuters much of what happens will depend on each storm’s route.

“One single hurricane can be devastating whereas you can have many that don’t hit,” he said. “It’s all very relative, but the one rule of thumb is to always be well prepared.”

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh in Havana and Rodrigo Campos in New York; Additional Reporting by Sarah Peter in Castries, St Lucia, Nelson Acosta in Havana and Karin Strohecker in London; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Aurora Ellis)

U.S. adds social distancing to Atlantic hurricane season emergency response plan

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – With the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season fast approaching, U.S. officials on Thursday said they were readying more buses, hotel rooms and shelter space for social distancing to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus during potential evacuations.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a telephone briefing that it anticipated a higher-than-average number of storms during the U.S. storm season beginning on June 1. It urged states and cities to step up their preparations.

“COVID will make it a little more difficult,” FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said, referring to the disease caused by the virus. “We’re asking local leaders to think about how they will manage evacuating and shelter. You’re going to need extra space.”

Last year, there were about 15 hurricane-related deaths in the United States, and at least 70 in the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian caused billions of dollars in damage.

COVID-19 has killed more than 73,000 people in the United States in the past two months.

In partnership with the American Red Cross, FEMA said it was preparing to house more evacuees in hotel rooms where families can stay, instead of packing them into shelters. They are also working to provide more buses to transport evacuees to avoid tight conditions.

An official estimate on the number of storms during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, is expected to be released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on May 21.

But several forecasters see a more active season than average, with 18 named tropical storms and eight hurricanes.

Last year there were 12 named storms of which, seven strengthened into hurricanes, including two major ones, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The most deadly storm was Dorian, which ravaged the Bahamas, killed scores and left whole communities obliterated.

Gaynor said FEMA had more money than ever going into the hurricane season, with $6 billion devoted to federal response to the pandemic that officials could on draw on, as well as $80 billion remaining in disaster relief funds.

Brad Kieserman, vice president for disaster operations and logistics at the American Red Cross, said his organization had reserved more than 20,000 overnight stays at thousands of hotels.

“I can’t reinforce enough: our goal collectively is to keep people safe,” he said.

FEMA is also working to provide more face masks and other protective gear to help states fight COVID-19, as many hospitals and other U.S. facilities struggle to maintain enough masks and protective gear.

FEMA is also working with states to maximize each state’s ability to test for the virus, Gaynor said, but each state must decide how many people get tested.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Tom Brown)

In Puerto Rico, a new hurricane season threatens the elderly

An elderly woman prays at a chapel of the San Rafael nursing home in Arecibo, Puerto Rico February 14, 2018. Picture taken February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

By Nick Brown, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Ricardo Ortiz

ADJUNTAS, PUERTO RICO (Reuters) – At 84 years old and battling cancer, Israel Gonzalez Maldonado has lived without electricity for the nine months since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

His wife, Zoraida Reyes, 77, struggles to keep the house stocked with fresh food without a refrigerator. At night, she fans her husband so he can sleep.

With another hurricane season starting, older Puerto Ricans have little to protect them from another storm on an impoverished island that remains far from fully recovered. Younger and wealthier people have been moving away for years, leaving an older and sicker population in the hands of an underfunded healthcare system. Tens of thousands more have fled since Maria.

“We wish we could move, at least for the time he has left,” Reyes said of her husband.

Senior citizens make up a larger share of the population here than in all but four U.S. states, according to federal Census data. About half are disabled, more than any state.

Forty percent of seniors rely on food stamps, more than three times the percentage in New York state, the second-highest nationally.

Yet the island has just six nursing homes – with a total of 159 beds – that are certified by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to provide rehabilitative services.

Puerto Rico relies instead on a patchwork of about 800 nursing homes licensed by the island’s Department of Family. They are typically private businesses or nonprofit organizations that care for small numbers of elderly people with limited services – and limited budgets, strained further since Maria.

A fragile healthcare system is hardly the only problem that leaves the elderly here – and all Puerto Ricans – vulnerable to another catastrophic storm.

About 7,000 houses and businesses still lack power, after Maria leveled a grid that was ill-maintained before the storm. Power utility PREPA has patched together most of the system but remains years away from making the fundamental improvements needed to enable it to withstand another hurricane.

“The grid needs to be rebuilt – not just the lines,” PREPA Chief Executive Walter Higgins said.

Maria also damaged nearly half the island’s levees. Several major water pumps, used to remove floodwater, remain in disrepair.

“God help us, but we definitely can’t handle any more hurricanes,” said Tania Vazquez, the island’s secretary of natural resources.

Governor Ricardo Rossello’s office declined to comment on the island’s hurricane preparedness or on specific efforts to protect the elderly, referring questions to other agencies.

Glorimar Andujar, Secretary of the Department of Family, said officials learned a lot from Maria about how to prepare for the next storm.

“The emergency plans are much better,” Andujar said, “because we now have an experience that no other generation of agency leaders have experienced.”


Rosa Iturrizaga runs Hostal de Amigos, a small eldercare residence in San Juan.

The home barely broke even before Maria, relying on resident fees of between $2,000 and $3,000 a month. Since then, two of 11 residents moved to the mainland, and insurance has so far not paid for about $40,000 in storm damage, Iturrizaga said. The business carries $500,000 in debt, has fallen behind on loan and tax payments and now loses up to $5,000 a month.

“I don’t know what’s kept me going,” Iturrizaga said. “I love doing this, but I’m looking at other things to do with the land.”

Another private home, the nonprofit Asilo San Rafael in Arecibo, theoretically charges residents $1,200 a month; in reality, only three of 27 residents pay full price, and at least nine pay nothing, said board member Lucila Oliver.

Operating costs run about $700,000 annually, with about $110,000 coming from a handful of subsidies from the island’s central government – subsidies she says have declined sharply in recent years as the now-bankrupt Puerto Rican government fell into a fiscal crisis, Oliver said.

The Department of Family’s Andujar disputed that the subsidies have declined, but Oliver provided Reuters with balance sheets showing a drop in department funding to $59,000 this fiscal year from $80,000 last year.

Maria brought new costs: about $1,200 a month to bring in water tanks, and thousands more on diesel for generators. Oliver said San Rafael is “used to living on the edge,” but says the edge has drawn closer since the hurricanes.

Many elderly and disabled here find a way to get by at home, with little care. Some seek help from the Department of Family, applying for a caregiver to come by just a day or two a week, said Andujar.

Many are turned away, she said.

“The funding is very limited,” she said, “and the need is very big.”


This hurricane season, the department is making sure it has accurate locations for all licensed nursing homes after cell phone service disruptions stymied the response to Hurricane Maria. The homes, Andujar said, are now required to have 30 days of food on hand, and the department has also requested they have generators and water tanks.

She added that about 315,000 elderly people currently receive benefits as part of a $1.27 billion federal allocation under the Nutritional Assistance Program.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) remains on the island and said it has given municipalities money to improve community resilience.

Dr. Carmen Sanchez Salgado, Puerto Rico’s ombudsmen for the elderly, said her staff has been educating elderly people about the emergency supplies they need.

Charities and nonprofits have also helped. The nonprofit PRxPR, created in response to Maria, is funding solar panels for elderly people and community centers.

One such center in Naguabo had no power as recently as four weeks ago, said Carmen Baez, the group’s co-founder.

“Our installation was it,” she said.

(Reporting by Nick Brown, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Ricardo Ortiz; Additional reporting by Robin Respaut; Editing by Daniel Bases and Brian Thevenot)