Warmer than Normal Sea Surface Temperatures Heat Up the 2020 Hurricane Season
Help Your Business Outpace the Storms with a Comprehensive Business Continuity and Safety Plan
Tropical storms Arthur, Bertha and Cristobal have already primed the 2020 hurricane season, which with a June 1 start date, barely has its wheels in motion. Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic are to blame for the increase, according to the June 4 forecast issued by Colorado State University (CSU).
Led by Dr. Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist in the CSU department of atmospheric science, the CSU meteorology team published the following updated forecast parameters:
Named Storm Days:..........................85
Major Hurricane Days:......................9
Accumulated Cyclone Energy:.........160
The accumulated cyclone energy is a measure of a named storm’s potential for wind and storm surge destruction defined as the sum of the square of a named storm’s maximum wind speed (in 10 knots²) for each 6-hour period of its existence.
By comparison, the average for 1981-2010 was 12.1 named storms, 59.4 named storm days, 6.4 hurricanes, 24.2 hurricane days, 2.7 major hurricanes, 6.2 major hurricane days and 106 accumulated cyclone energy.
CSU also predicts probabilities for at least one major (category 3-4-5) hurricane landfall on each of the following coastal areas:
Entire continental U.S. coastline - 70% (average for last century is 52%)
U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida - 46% (average for last century is 31%)
Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville - 45% (average for last century is 30%)
Battening Down the Hatches at Your Place of Business
With many businesses already struggling with the effects of COVID-19, crafting an office hurricane preparedness plan is especially critical this year in protecting employees, customers and the bottom line.
Ready.gov offers a suite of tools to help businesses faced with hurricanes and other natural disasters. To download the Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit, visit https://www.ready.gov/business.
When hurricanes are an immediate threat, implement the following checklist to protect your business and employees.
Safeguard Company Records and Important Papers
Make duplicates to be stored in a safe place offsite.
Move all records away from windows, ideally into a room without windows.
Businesses located on the first floor of a building should place valuable papers, records, files, etc. one to two feet off the floor in case of flooding.
Cover important documents with large plastic bags or vinyl sheeting for additional security.
If an extended building closure is imminent, arrange to remove files and key equipment prior to the storm’s landfall.
Disconnect Electrical Appliances and Equipment
Backup, shut down and unplug computers. Store backup discs in a safe, offsite location.
Unplug copiers, fax machines, coffee pots, microwaves, and all other electric or electronic equipment to prevent damage due to power surges, blown transformers, etc.
Clean out refrigerators, including freezer compartments.
Clear Tops of Desks, Tables and Other Surfaces
Put papers, pens, pencils, calculators, and all items on the tops of desks and other furniture in drawers, closets or somewhere they will not be blown away in case a window breaks.
Computers, terminals, keyboards, etc. should be stored in a room with no windows, if possible.
Lower and Close Window Blinds and Secure Balcony Doors
Lower all blinds and place slats in the closed position. Close vertical shades.
Place folded towels inside the bottom of doors that lead to balconies or the building exterior.
Make sure doors to balconies are closed tight and locked.
Secure Store Front Exteriors
Remove all outdoor tables, chairs, planters, trash containers, etc., and secure in a safe interior location. Remove any hanging planters or other loose items outside and secure them inside.
In store front windows, remove interior displays, signage, etc., and install hurricane shutters or plywood panels covering the entire window. Confirm plywood panels are installed according to proper protocols.
Ensure All Employees Have Left the Building and Designate Backup Contacts
Make sure everyone leaves immediately after the office is secured. Appoint one person to confirm every employee has left the building.
Designate a substitute supervisor, if needed, and determine at least two alternate contacts after the storm in case the business phone lines are not working.
Additional business hurricane preparedness information can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration website at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/HurricanePreparednessSBA.pdf.
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