In contrast to the Pacific Ocean, which has been a veritable assembly line for storms this year, the Atlantic has had a relatively quiet hurricane season.
We’ve seen just three named storms, none of which have reached “major” hurricane status. There’s actually one struggling northward right now —Hurricane Cristobal—which has brought some dangerous riptides, but little in the way of other weather.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Marie is currently churning up the Pacific, gobbling up smaller storms and producing “epic,” surf-board-breaking waves. On average, the left coast generally sees 15.4 storms per hurricane season (which runs through the end of November), with 3.9 major hurricanes. This year, all bets are off: there have already been 13 storms and 5 major hurricanes…and we’ve still got three months to go.
All that being said, New Yorkers (and all of our Atlantic Coast brethren) would be wise to remember that we’re only halfway through our hurricane season, too. In fact, we are actually most vulnerable between now and October—one only need to remember Hurricane Sandy to know that’s true.
Know Your Zone
This year, the New York City Office of Emergency Management launched an awareness campaign called “Know Your Zone” to encourage New Yorkers to find out whether they live in one of the city’s six evacuation zones. Almost three million New Yorkers do.
The map is visually pleasing, if a bit retro, and incredibly easy to use: just type in an address to see the zone (and the location of the nearest evacuation center). The website contains tips on developing a plan and ways to stay informed, and even has downloadable “badges” to use on websites and a hashtag for social media (#knowyourzone).
Even if you think you know your zone, it’s worth a second look. Last year the City changed the hurricane evacuation zones from A, B, and C, to zones 1 through 6 (with zone 1 being the most likely to flood). The increased number of zones make evacuation more accurate, meaning the city is less likely to over- or under-evacuate areas.
The new zones also incorporate a new storm surge model from the National Weather Service, topographic data, and information from actual events such as Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy.
What’s your zone? Do you have an evacuation plan?