MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — As expected, the 2021 Hurricane Season proved to be formidable and had a major impact on the entire Atlantic Basin. Numerous benchmarks were set last year in terms of the number of storms and the total financial costs. The season produced 21 named storms, making it the third-most active season on record behind 2020 and 2005. This also marked the second consecutive year in which the main 21-name list was exhausted. The strongest landfalling hurricane of the year was Hurricane Ida, which struck Southeast Louisiana on Aug. 29 and packed winds of 150 mph. Ida killed 55 people from the Gulf Coast to New England and produced over $75 billion in damage, marking it as the fifth-costliest storm on record.
The 2021 season had significant impacts on the Gulf Coast. In June, an EF2 tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Claudette cut a 22-mile path of destruction from East Brewton, Ala. to Castleberry, Ala. Although no fatalities were caused by the twister, 20 people suffered injuries in East Brewton when the storm moved through a mobile home park. In August, tragedy unfolded in George County, Miss. Rain from Hurricane Ida is believed to have contributed to the collapse of Highway 26. On Aug. 29, several cars unknowingly drove over the collapse. Two people were killed and 10 were injured.
Currently, all signs are pointing to another very active season. The Climate Prediction Center, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, continues to observe clear La Niña patterns with cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Basin. This global pattern is forecast to continue through at least the first half of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Historically, the presence of La Niña leads to a more active period of tropical activity across the Atlantic Basin. The team at Colorado State University has predicted 19 named storms for the 2022 season with nine storms becoming hurricanes and four becoming major hurricanes.
Keep in mind, a seasonal forecast is just that—a forecast. This should have no bearing on how you and your household prepare for the season ahead. We always stress the importance of having a detailed plan for you, your family, and your pets. There are some important questions you should ask yourself before the season begins: Where would I go if an evacuation order were to be issued? Do I live in a flood zone? Do I have readily available paper and electronic copies of important documents like insurance forms, medication lists, and vehicle information? Do I have all the necessary pieces in place to form a hurricane survival kit? Do I have a plan for my pets if I am forced to evacuate? Are my important contacts up to date?
Preparation is key. The last thing anyone wants to be doing when a storm is approaching is running around rushing to get supplies and frantically coming up with a plan. That just adds stress to an already stressful situation. Having everything worked out ahead of time can put your mind at rest and ensure your post-storm process goes smoother than it otherwise would.
WKRG News 5 is committed to keeping the Gulf Coast informed and prepared all season long. As the saying goes, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Download the WKRG Hurricane Guide 2022 PDF:
Print copies of the WKRG News 5 Hurricane Guide 2022 on hand where you’ll be able to find it if a storm comes your way.
Hurricane Tracking Chart:
WKRG News 5 is helping you stay ahead of the storm. Track the tropics as storms develop in the Atlantic and churn toward the Gulf Coast. Like the Hurricane Guide, you can print this chart and keep it in a visible place in your home.
You can stay ahead of all breaking and local news across the Gulf Coast. To get the latest news from Mobile, Baldwin County and Pensacola, download the WKRG News 5 News App and be sure to turn on push alerts.