Active Hurricane Season Predicted for 2011

Hurricane season officially began June 1 and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has predicted an active season for 2011. They are projecting 12-18 named storms of which 3-6 could become a major hurricane (Category 3-5). If you do the math, that is an average of 2-3 storms per month with at least one being a major hurricane. Why are they predicting so many? NOAA is saying:

  • Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
  • La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

As was shown in the recent devastating tornado in Joplin, MO that made a direct strike on St. John’s Regional Medical Center, many hospitals outside of the tornado’s path were also affected by having to provide assistance to St. John’s and receive their patients that were evacuated. That is no different than what would happen here in South Carolina if one, or several, coastal facilities were impacted by a hurricane and had to evacuate. When it comes to emergency situations, we are all family and must be ready to support each other. For coastal hospitals, it is time to remind your staff about preparing personal evacuation plans for their families. If you have not already done so in 2011, update your Critical Data Sheets in order to shelter in place during hurricanes. For remaining hospitals, it would be good to review your Mutual Aid Agreements that you may have with coastal hospitals to ensure that you can provide the same support that was committed last year. For SCHA, we will monitor all situations that may affect our coast. We will continue to coordinate with SC DHEC and SC Emergency Management Division in their preparedness efforts. And, should your normal communication channels not be available during the storm, we will have a volunteer amateur radio operator that you can contact for assistance.

06-15-2011 05:13 (EDT)