Good weather inspires travel. Many students time their adventures abroad to enjoy sun and free time during the summer. Summer in America is winter abroad in some parts of the world. Summer season also means primetime for tropical storms like hurricanes. Popular travel destinations like Mexico and South America are affected.
According to the United States Department of State travel warning, hurricane and typhoon season is in effect until November. Most tropical cyclones in a given year develop between May and October, overlapping the summer travel season.
If you are going abroad this summer, you should make sure you know what to expect from weather conditions and have an emergency plan in place. Here are a few simple tips and answers to determine if traveling into tropical storm zones is for you:
What should I expect this year?
For hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center expects 2016 to be a pretty normal season. There is a 70-percent chance that La Nina, a phenomenon that leads to cooler Pacific temperatures and can sway North American weather, will appear during the peak of this year’s hurricane season.
There’s also a 70-percent likelihood of seeing 10 to 16 named storms, with eight of these becoming hurricanes and one to four of them a major hurricane.
What areas are the most affected by hurricanes?
The Department of State says hurricanes are known to affect the islands of the Caribbean Sea, the northern coast of South America, Central America, Mexico and many areas in the United States. When a hurricane impacts one of these areas, it can result in copious infrastructure damage and shortages of food, water and medical facilities. It can also seriously impact local airports, which makes evacuation difficult.
For a more specific, month-by-month breakdown of what areas are at risk at what time, visit the Department of State’s tropical storm webpage.
What do I do if I’m heading to an area prone to hurricane activity?
Visit travel.state.gov and adhere to travel alerts and warnings. Flights will be cancelled and you could be stranded if you ignore hurricane, tsunami warnings. Don’t panic, but do plan ahead. Register with the Department of State’s safe travel enrollment program to get up-to-date information and access to emergency services. Depart with the appropriate evacuation travel, health and medical insurance. It can cost upwards of $50,000 to bring you home during crisis.
If you happen to be abroad when a tropical storm hits, the Department of State recommends you obey local authorities’ instructions and stay close to trip organizers, hotel staff and guides for evacuation support.
For moment to moment alerts you can use the National Hurricane Center’s website and local radio and emergency services. It is one of the fastest ways to get updates on storm developments.
For more tools and information about what to do during a natural disaster, visit the tools and info tab. Safe travels start here. Depart Smart.