Heads Up: It's Hurricane Season

June 13, 2017

Hurricane preparedness is the best “insurance” a yacht owner can have!

Hurricane season has arrived and runs through the 30th of November. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, warm sea surface temperatures and a weak or non-existent El Niño will contribute to an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. For 2017, forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). These numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April.

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern Pacific and central Pacific hurricane basins. An 80 percent chance of a near- or above-normal season is predicted for each region. The eastern Pacific outlook also calls for a 70 percent probability of 14 to 20 named storms, of which 6 to 11 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3 to 7 major hurricanes. The central Pacific outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 5 to 8 tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Calm Does NOT Call for Complacency
Just because the past three years have been relatively calm, Pantaenius cautions you to avoid being complacent! Always check the weather before casting off, and pay particular attention when there’s a named tropical storm brewing.

Where to go to stay current with the weather? The best monitoring sites are official government agencies, such as the National Hurricane Center, which provides details on projected track and strength of Tropical Depressions, Storms, and Hurricanes that they themselves classify.

Put Science On Your Side
Even better, take advantage of the services of a private weather routing/consultation service—like Pantaenius’ partner, Weather Routing, Inc. (WRI). “Companies like ours provide the same information, but we also provide recommended action that is required—be it evasive action to avoid the storm completely, best to remain on the south or ‘weaker’ sides of storms where radius of gale force winds tend to be smaller, and/or heading to a safe, secure, and protected port to minimize exposure to large seas and storm surge,” says David Cannon, Director of Yacht Operations for WRI.

What’s more, private weather services provide information on these systems well in advance of official classification. “As trained Meteorologists, we look for trends and study the environment that the system is in,” Cannon explains. Case in point: “We look at the overall structure of the storm, how well organized the system is (i.e., are associated squalls more scattered, showing less structure to them, or are these squalls more concentrated, numerous, and persistent?),” Cannon explains. “So often, the environment the system is in governs the extent to which these systems become better organized and develop—warm sea surface temperatures and lighter winds aloft being two main contributing factors to development and organization.”

Bonus: Get Your Free WRI Trial this Hurricane Season
All skippers know how unpredictable Mother Nature can be. To take advantage of the many state-of-the-art benefits a weather routing service has to offer, Pantaenius has made it possible to download Weather Routing, Inc.’s mobile app, which includes a 15-day free trial (with no obligation to subscribe) to the company’s SeaWeather Service. This premium package offers access to weather charts, weather news and alerts to aid in trip planning—plus you’ll get access to a fishing planner to find hotspot areas for various fish species. You can also request forecasts through the SeaWeather mobile app, as well as view forecasts and meteograms you already requested on the app. SeaWeather also has a tropical cyclone tracker with graphical information on tropical cyclone forecasts of track, intensity, etc., along with WRI tropical summaries prepared daily with projections for significant tropical weather features and alert messages when cyclones become an apparent threat.

Whether you have an Android, Blackberry, iPhone, or Windows device, you can simply go to www.Mobile.SeaWeather.net in your mobile web browser to get started. An “onboard” version of SeaWeather will be available in the coming weeks that will allow users to download and view data without the use of an internet connection.

Always at Your Side
Historically, hurricane season doesn’t typically peak until late August, but savvy sailors and skippers are taking steps now to be prepared. At Pantaenius, we believe that planning, preparation, and timely action are your best defenses for weathering the hurricane season. To learn what you can do to be prepared and protect your crew and yacht if a hurricane threatens, click here for expert advice from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Information for this article provided by David Cannon Director of Yacht Operations/ MeteorologistRacing/Tournament Specialist at Weather Routing, Inc., a 55-year-old weather routing company based in Upstate New York. WRI can be reached by phone at 518-798-1110, online at www.wriwx.com or via email at wri@wriwx.com.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE RECOMMENDED STEPS TO SECURE AND PROTECT YOUR YACHT DURING A STORM ARE NOT INTENDED TO AND DO NOT SUPERSEDE OR REPLACE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF YOUR PANTAENIUS AMERICA YACHT POLICY, WHICH MAY INCLUDE YOUR PANTAENIUS APPROVED NAMED TROPICAL STORM PLAN. THESE RECOMMENDATIONS CAN BE USED TO HELP YOU DEVELOP A NAMED TROPICAL STORM PLAN.