Tips for Traveling during Hurricane Season

Hurricane season begins in the United States on June 1, and officially ends on November 30. Historically, the most active part of the six month period falls between the end of August and the end of September. As of August 9, the 2010 hurricane season has been relatively quiet, considering the National Hurricane Center predicted an above average year of named storms. With the end of August a mere two weeks away, it is important to follow some tips for traveling during hurricane season.

Travelers must focus most of their attention on activity in the Atlantic Ocean basin and Caribbean peninsula. While the Pacific Ocean sees its fair share of hurricane development, ocean currents and cool water temperatures usually prevent hurricane from impacting the California coast. Travelers in the United States should pay attention to hurricanes that can hit anywhere from Brownsville, Texas, to the Maine/Canadian border. The National Hurricane Center issued its 2010 prediction with a caveat: the eastern seaboard will see more hurricane development because of unusually high water temperatures within twenty miles of the coast.

Experts predicate their tips for traveling during hurricane season on the mode of travel. Since the economic downturn began in late 2007, more people have turned to automobile travel for vacations and business trips. Air travel is down, but it remains an important travel mode for business travelers. Florida continues to be a favorite spot for hosting business conventions, so business travelers to Florida should closely follow tropical storm development. Finally, the cruise line industry’s peak season coincides with the peak season for hurricane development.

By Land

The first tip for traveling by car during the hurricane season is stocking your car with emergency essentials. High water stalls car engines, so stock your car with a first aid kit, flares, emergency flashers, light sources, and enough food and water to last three days. Monitor your car’s fuel supply; never allow the gauge to fall below the halfway point. Moreover, have at least a five gallon container full of fuel as a backup source.

Them most important tip for traveling by car during hurricane season is to pay attention to weather information sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Weather Channel (TWC). Once officials post a hurricane watch, you should immediately leave the watch area, regardless if local officials do not issue an evacuation order. You will still need emergency essentials if you heed public evacuation mandates; traffic snarls can last as long as thirty-six hours from the time you evacuate to the time roads return to their normal flow. Do not place recreational bliss above personal safety.

Hurricanes kill more people by the storm surge than wind, lightning, and rain combined. Never circumnavigate stretches of road inundated by rising water.

By Air

You make the reservation months in advance without factoring in the potential for hurricane development near your destination. As departure day arrives, you notice a tropical wave forming over warm Caribbean waters. According to NOAA and TWC, conditions are nearly ideal for further development. You must decide on your travel plans before heading off to the airport.

Once you check in for a flight heading to the hurricane zone, you become dependent on the airline’s decision to fly or not. Most airlines do not have a passenger friendly cancellation policy. The best tip for traveling by air during hurricane season is to be proactive early enough that you can change your travel dates, or even change your entire travel itinerary.

By Water

While powerful, hurricanes generally do not take up vast expanses of ocean water. Cruise lines anticipate tropical storm formation days in advance, and then they determine whether to alter the cruise’s itinerary. Cruise lines make contingency plans in the event of an impending storm, especially when it comes to making ports of call. The size and structure of cruise ships precludes a Titanic type disaster. Therefore, the best tip for traveling during the hurricane season by sea is closely following the directions given by cruise line officials.

Hurricanes are one of Mother Nature’s awesome displays of sheer power. Once misunderstood, scientists have unraveled many of the mysteries that drive hurricane development and direction. You benefit from the scientific advancements because the element of surprise has been virtually eliminated. Nonetheless, there are steps that you need to take if you decide to travel during hurricane season, especially if you decide by land.