7 Tips to Hurricane Proof Your Vacation

How To Make Your Vacation Hurricane Proof

You just booked your dream vacation to the sunny beaches of Miami and the only thing on your mind was how not to look like a lobster or a raccoon from all the fun in the sun. Unfortunately, you forgot about the hurricane season (runs between June 1st and November 30th) and just your luck, there’s a hurricane on the horizon! Don’t agonize over the hurricane and cancel your trip. Instead, be assertive with your trip, make some slight adjustments and start having a great time on your vacation. We prepared some good weather strategies to help combat the storm and try to get you back to relaxing!

Tip #1: Know What’s Going On

Being on top of the storm and knowing what the hurricane is doing. Some great websites and apps include the Weather Channel, National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center (nhc.noaa.gov), and Hurricane Software app. With the Hurricane Software app, you will be able to see the latest coordinates, the actual distance from your location to the storms location in miles, satellite images and much more.

Tip #2: Buy Travel Insurance!

Protecting your vacation is the last thing on your mind and purchasing a trip cancellation protection package will safeguard your investment and your wallet. Companies like insuremytrip.com will compare travel insurance policies from 20 different issuers and breakdown the cost and coverage’s of all the carriers. Most important thing is to buy the travel insurance early. The policies only work if you buy it before the hurricane disturbs your trip, not during or after. Two most popular insurers are American Express Travel Insurance and Global Alert.

Tip #3: Go On A Cruise Ship

This is an automatic hurricane free vacation! Cruise ships have to protect their passenger’s safety and well-being. Cruise lines will change ports, routes and the ships itinerary in order to avoid the hurricane. The waters might be a little bit more choppy than normal but the ships are designed to take the force of a category 3 hurricane. Check out orbitz.com, kayak.com and cruiseweb.com for the best deals on booking your ship-cation.

Tip #4: Travel Outside The Hurricane Belt!

Statistically, there are parts of the Caribbean that have a low probability of being hit or even experiencing the bad weather associated with the hurricane. The ABC islands are a great example of that statistic. Made up of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, these three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. Since 1877, Aruba has only had a few hurricanes and only six have passed within 62 miles of the island. I will take those odds any day and enjoy a Mai-tai on the beach!

Tip #5: Airline’s Hurricane Policy

Airline companies are usually a hassle to deal with but when it comes to natural causes, they usually are accommodating for the most part. American Airlines and Delta will actually let you change your flight plans without penalty if you rebook within the time frame the airline designates.

Tip #6: Find a Hotel With Weather Guarantee

More and more hotel chains and single hotels are offering incentives to book at their hotel during hurricanes or tropical storms. Some hotels will offer free room upgrades, 40% off room rate and waive the resort fee. Even if they don’t advertise these deals, ask the front desk or concierge and explain to them that your vacation was ruined and want to see if there was any hotel upgrades to help improve your experience while staying at the hotel.

Tip #7: Be Prepared

Besides taking shelter and getting out of harms way, we tend to forget the essentials until they are finally needed or it’s too late. For example, if you have a rental car, make sure you have plenty of gas; this will avoid long lines or worse case if the power goes, no gas at all. Stock up on water and food supply for three days. Take out extra money from your bank or ATM, again, if the transformers get blown and there’s no power, extra cash becomes more valuable than gold.

Keep in mind that these are just tips and options to help with your vacation. Since we can’t control the weather, the best thing to do is to prepare for the unexpected, be safe and seek shelter at all cost. Hopefully these strategies will help your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare!

William Lester

The Peak of Hurricane Season Has Arrived

Today, September 10th, marks the climatological peak of hurricane season. The waters are nice and warm with lots of tropical waves traveling off the coast of Africa. It is this time of year that people tend to think of when they hear the word “hurricane,” with the African Easterly Waves developing into classic Cape Verde-type hurricanes. It is not surprising that during the peak of hurricane season we have 2 named storms (Tropical Storm Leslie and Hurricane Michael) with a third system likely to form soon. In case you were wondering, it would be called Nadine if it reaches tropical storm strength.

With that in mind, let’s look at the season so far. We have had 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane. We had an early start to the season with 2 named storms before the official June 1st start. Tropical Storm Beryl, who made landfall in Jacksonville Beach, Florida made history as the strongest May storm on record with maximum sustained wind speeds of 70 mph (just below the 74 mph hurricane cut off) before landfall. A few weeks later there was Tropical Storm Debby who dumped large amounts of rain across Florida, especially on the west coast. Miami hasn’t been directly effected yet, but did get rainbands and weak tropical storm force winds as then Tropical Storm Isaac passed just below the Keys. Hurricane Isaac later went on to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico and sat on top of Louisana, unleashing rain and winds for what seemed like forever. The major impact with Isaac was the flooding, as natural levees were topped and the Mississippi River overflowed into the surrounding areas. Ironically, this occurred around the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and although New Orleans was fine this time, others were not so lucky. The first major hurricane was Hurricane Michael in the Atlantic which was a Category 3 for 6 hours.

Rain and flooding have been the main story so far this season, but there is still the second half to go. Let’s see what the rest of the season has to bring, and keep our fingers crossed. Hurricane season officially ends on November 30th.

Angela Colbert
Meteorology & Physical Oceanography
Graduate Student
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