It doesn’t seem fair. While the summer sun shines full force the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and runs its course through Nov. 30. It is likely a safe bet that we’ll be introduced to Hurricane Danny, Joaquin and Mindy this season (among others).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center has issued its forecast for the Atlantic Hurricane Season, predicting between nine and 14 storms, with four to seven of these becoming hurricanes. NOAA’s figures are also forecasting one major Category 3 storm (111 mph). NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook doesn’t project where and when any of these storms may hit.
On a slightly sunnier note, the tropical storm forecasting team at Colorado State University has adjusted their previous calculations, reducing the predicted number of storms from 12 to 11, with five of these storms expected to reach hurricane status. Two of these are expected to develop into Category 3 storms or larger. According to the Colorado team, there’s a 39 percent chance of a major hurricane blowing into the Caribbean, a shade lower than the long-term average of 42 percent.
Travel agents can supply some peace of mind for their clients by purchasing hurricane-related insurance coverage. Coverage can cover such situations as trip cancellation due to weather, trip delay, missed flight connections, mandatory evacuation disrupting a trip or a missed port-of-call due to a hurricane. It’s important to remember that this coverage has to be in place before a storm has been named by the National Weather Service.
Agents can also steer their clients toward Caribbean resorts offering their own built-in hurricane guarantees. For example, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay recently reinstated its Risk-Free SunSpree hurricane guarantee for the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season. This safeguards purchases of resort stays during the entire hurricane season, with such provisions as free re-booking, room upgrades and free nights if a client’s vacation is disrupted by a hurricane.