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No storms brewing during hurricane season's peak

Posted On Fri, September 6, 2013

While this time of year tends to be the one in which the highest number of hurricanes form, that hasn't been the case this time around, as detailed recently by a climate researcher.

Through the end of August and into the first part of September, there have been no named hurricanes that have formed, pointed out by Steven Goddard, a noted climatologist and best-selling author. He also runs his own blog called "Real Science."

Though some scientists have forecasted that hurricane formation is at an all-time high, Goddard said that they have been relatively minimal in recent years. In fact, compared to 1886, there had been seven hurricanes by this point in the year.

Goddard also produced a graph, charting how many hurricanes have formed in the time that President Barack Obama has been in office. Through his first term and into the first year of his second, three hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. This contrasts sharply with how many there were under President Grover Cleveland. In his four years in the White House, 26 hurricanes hit the U.S.

The Insurance Information Institute recently made note of the dramatic falloff in hurricane formation. According to the National Hurricane Center, in the past 100 years, late August through the end of October is usually the peak time of year for hurricanes to form. Additionally, in the typical hurricane season - which stretches from June to November - approximately 34 percent of named hurricanes form in September.

Now's the time to prepare
Nevertheless, despite no storms currently threatening the U.S. coastline or mainland, "it's what you do when the weather is calm that makes the biggest difference between storm survivors and storm victims," the III advised.

The III said that in addition to reviewing insurance rates, homeowners should do the following things, with conditions being as calm as they are.

For example, if policyholders haven't taken the time to get in touch with their insurer in the past 12 months or so, now's the time to do it. According to a recent poll conducted by real estate listings website Trulia, more than half - 52 percent - of homeowners expect to make some type of home improvement this fall, with the average project being about $800 more than what was spent during summer.

Whether the renovation has already been done, or soon will be, the III recommended that policyholders get in touch with their insurer for a number of reasons.

"First, some improvements may earn you a discount on your annual premium, such as fortifying a roof or installing window and door protection," the III stated. "Secondly, if your home was severely damaged by tropical storms, making the improvements known means that a claims payout reflects the upgrades."

Buy flood insurance
Something else homeowners and tenants should consider with their residential policy is flood insurance. Some people are under the impression that flood insurance is a standard part of property insurance. In reality, this is a separate policy that has to be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The III noted that substantial damage from flooding can take place even during storms that don't have the type of strength that hurricanes do, making flood coverage especially important. Time is of the essence with flood coverage as well, for coverage doesn't kick in until 30 days after purchasing.

Additionally, the III advised policyholders to inventory their belongings and possessions, establish an evacuation route for how they will get out of their house if a storm threatens and to have an emergency kit prepared.

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