The tropics seem to be getting active as we approach the third month of hurricane season. This season there is a twist. You guessed it – COVID.

Really. A new study suggests that some weather forecasts could be less accurate because of the virus. “Meteorological observations on commercial aircraft help improve the forecast. However, the global lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic … chops off 50-75% of aircraft observations.” (Source)

Hurricane paths are tough to predict as is. Maybe the virus and fewer flights make it tougher.

All the more reason for people in any hurricane-prone region to be prepared for storms and power outages. Maybe this year it means be extra prepared if there is more uncertainty in the forecasts.

Duke Energy has a good site that looks at various ways to prepare for electric service emergencies here.

From Nat’l Hurricane Center July 22. Tropics getting active?

There are outage maps available to the public:

  • South Carolina here.
  • North Carolina here.
  • Duke Energy here.
  • Dominion Energy – Virginia here.
  • Dominion Energy – SCE&G here.
  • SC Coops here.
  • NC Coops here.

In a recent calendar year of reporting there were almost 37 million people affected by more than 3,500 reported outages (Source). While a bit dated this is useful to know: As a nation, electric customers experienced an average of 1.3 interruptions and went without power for four hours during the year. (EIA) Averages are deceiving, though, as when some states (maybe like the Carolinas?) are hit by two hurricanes in a month, as in the past. That is a challenge.

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Feature image is the satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico on July 22, 2020. NOAA.