The next big named storm to make landfall is a question of when, not if. Coastal boaters should prepare because hurricane season is here. The more you know and plan ahead, the better your chances of protecting your boat and property.
In an average year, two hurricanes will come ashore somewhere along the Gulf or Atlantic coast, destroying homes, sinking boats, and turning people's lives topsy-turvy for weeks or months. Since 2016, the U.S. has been hit by four powerful Category 4 hurricanes of 130-mph-plus — Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Michael, which strengthened to a Cat 5 storm, the most powerful ever to hit the Florida Panhandle, and demolished 150 years of records. Florida is struck most often, but every coastal state is a potential target.
Experts predict that tropical storms will be stronger and contain even more rainfall in the future, coupled with higher water levels. Experts also warn that after a number of storm-free years, people in some of the vulnerable areas may become less wary of a storm's potential fury. But to residents of the Carolinas crippled by Florence, and people in Florida ravaged by Michael in 2018, the hurricane threat won't soon be forgotten.