Disaster Prep: Hurricane preparedness and action plan

August 15, 2018
| United States

In this installment of Disaster Prep, we focus on hurricane preparedness and actions to take to protect your workplace in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.

Now is the time to prepare…it only takes one

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and runs through November 30 each year. Although the peak of the season is usually during August - October, preparation is strongly advised at all times no matter how many storms are forecast. For example, Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane, roared ashore to devastate South Florida on August 24, 1992 during a year in which only seven named storms were projected for the season.

According to the National Hurricane Center, activity in the Atlantic basin in 2017 was well above average, with 17 named storms and 10 hurricanes, six of them considered major. This compares to the long-term averages of 12 named storms and six hurricanes, three of them major. One unnamed tropical depression also formed in 2017.

In terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), which measures the combined strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes, preliminary data indicate that the 2017 season was the most active since 2005 and the 7th most active on record for the Atlantic basin, behind 1933, 2005, 1893, 1926, 1995, and 2004. Projections through March 2018 indicate that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will have activity slightly above the median for the 1981–2010 seasons.1

Year 2018 hurricane prediction (Forecast vs. Climatology)

Year 2018 hurricane prediction 

Source: NOAA Monthly Atlantic Tropical Weather Summary
*Major Hurricane - A hurricane which reaches a sustained low-level wind of at least 111 mph (96 knots) at some point in its lifetime. This equates to a Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

It’s important to keep in mind that the effects of a hurricane or tropical storm can be felt for hundreds of miles inland, not just along the coast. For example, inland flooding can be a huge concern, even if you are not physically located in a flood zone. Additionally, tornadoes are frequently spawned from hurricanes and tropical storms making landfall, so precautions are needed to protect structures and personnel from these events as well.

Download our hurricane response and action plan at the top or bottom of the page to learn how to protect your employees and your business in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, including:

  • 2018 landfall predictions
  • How to prepare your workplace
  • Post-storm assessment
  • A checklist of hurricane precautions before, during and after a storm
  • Understanding hurricane terminology and classifications
  • Links to additional resources and information

How Willis Towers Watson can help

Willis Towers Watson has teams of highly qualified experts specializing in disciplines that provide solutions to issues that are critical to our clients. Our National Property Claims and Forensic Accounting & Complex Claims (FACC) practice include: certified public accountants, forensic accountants, property claim consultants, certified fraud examiners, project managers, FEMA experts, and engineering and construction consultants, with colleagues residing in multiple offices around the world.

The senior leaders of the National Property Claims and FACC teams have worked on some of the most challenging and complex insurance claims resulting from some of the world’s largest catastrophes and disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, and the more recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. These teams have been successful in quantifying and recovering billions of dollars on behalf of clients.


1. Philip J. Klotzbach, Extended Range Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Proability for 2018, (Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2017),

We’ve created this Disaster Prep series to help you prepare for, protect against and respond to the effects of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, flood or tornado.

Please see our other reports in this series:

For more information, please review the resources on our Disaster Response Center or contact your local Willis Towers Watson client relationship director or risk control consultant.


Related solution