Severe Summer Weather Threats
The summer season doesn’t always promise nonchalant days filled with sunny afternoons and fun outdoor festivities. It’s easy to forget about triple-digit temperatures, whipping thunderstorms, and wildfires. During summer months, Mother Nature can surprise your critical business systems with unleashing myriads of threats between the end of the school year and Labor Day.
As the hurricane season is already underway, along with some wildfires happening across the country, there’s hope for us to catch a breath. Forecasters at Colorado State University anticipate the 2019 hurricane season in the Atlantic to show “slightly below normal activity.” And moist conditions from the recent winter in California could reduce the number of wildfires in that state.
Let’s take a look at summer’s greatest perils.
The past three years have been the most intense for the hurricane-prone regions. According to our own data, 45% of all business interruptions recovered by Agility in 2018 were caused by hurricanes. However, the hurricane season of 2019 may just give us some time to recuperate. According to an early report from Colorado State University, the 2019 Atlantic basin hurricane season will result in a slightly below-normal activity.
While the experts do not anticipate any major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline, they do remind coastal residents that “it only takes one hurricane.” Everyone, especially businesses, should prepare as thoroughly as possible for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.
This image below shows the average track density for tropical systems in the Atlantic between 1988 and 2018.
This tropical track density map was developed by evaluation of analog years, which are previous years that have weather patterns similar to current and projected weather patterns. Analog years are typically used to predict possible impacts during a hurricane season.
Scientists also contend that climate change is expected to lead to stronger, wetter hurricanes overall. It has also made them more destructive. Because global sea levels have risen, hurricanes create storm surges that go further inland, flooding homes and businesses.
A thunderstorm is a rain shower accompanied by thunder and lightning. A thunderstorm is assigned a severe category when it contains hail one inch or bigger, winds excessing 57.5 mph, or a tornado.
There are about 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the U.S. alone, with roughly 2,000 of them in progress. About 10% of these reach severe levels.
Average number of days annually with thunderstorms
Many threats are associated with thunderstorms. Under certain conditions, rainfall from thunderstorms causes flash flooding, killing more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning. Lightning causes fires around the world each year, resulting in fatalities. Hail up to the size of softballs damages buildings. Wind gusts up to more than 120 mph knock down trees, power lines, and mobile homes. And tornadoes can destroy anything on their path.
While the risk of flood damage varies from property to property, unexpected floods can happen anytime, anywhere. Summertime’s plethora of wild weather — including hurricanes, thunderstorms, and monsoons — makes the season susceptible to floods.
Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is typically dry. Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can be deadly. Floods may:
- Be a result of rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges, and overflows of dams.
- Develop slowly or quickly, with flash floods occurring with no warning.
- Cause outages, obstruct transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides.
Most companies can save between 20% and 90% on the cost of stock and portable equipment by taking action to prepare in advance of flooding. Our checklist will help mitigate your organization’s risk and protect your assets, revenue, and, most importantly, your people.
Monsoons occur during the Summer and can be defined as a regional atmospheric circulation pattern that brings humidity to areas that otherwise are typically dry.
The large-scale shifts in wind direction bring massive, daily thunderstorms to regions that stay dry seven or eight months a year. North America’s monsoon season officially kicks off by the end of June, beginning in New Mexico and Arizona, affecting western Texas, southern Utah, Colorado, and southern Nevada.
A wildfire season typically aligns with times when there’s an excess of dry fuels, winds and temperatures are above average, and humidity is low, which creates hot, dry conditions. However, experts believe the new pattern for wildfires is emerging, erasing the typical wildfire season timeline.
As wildfires become costlier each year, they happen more frequently. Overall, there were 11,195 fires in 2018, consuming 432,420 acres. Based on scientific data, most of them are caused by humans.
Even a single power outage event can have a significant and lasting effect on revenue, productivity, capacity, and labor. On average, 70% of Agility Recovery customers’ business interruptions involve a power outage. As a result, a company can no longer provide services to its customer, leading to extensive losses. Annually, businesses lose more than $27 billion due to power outages.
Power outages are widespread during hot summer days, taking down different appliances and triggering a domino effect that occurs on the heat-sensitive power grid. Air-conditioners turned up to the max, contribute significantly to the cause, overloading transmission lines which have limited capacity. Additionally, their ability to transport power decreases even more when during the summer season. The problem is intensified because the lines naturally heat up when carrying a lot of power.
When one line shuts down, others have to pick up the load, leading them to go through the same cycle. As the lines struggle to carry additional power, they can no longer keep voltages at their intended level. These declining voltage levels can subsequently cause lights to dim and equipment to operate at speeds that cause excessive wear and tear on components.