NOAA NWS NHC Track Map and Forecast for Hurricane Bill as of 19 August 2009  -- Image: NOAA/NWS-NHC

NOAA NWS NHC Track Map and Forecast for Hurricane Bill as of 19 August 2009 -- Image: NOAA/NWS-NHC

We’ve been lucky so far.  The 2009 hurricane season on the east coast of the U.S. has started just a bit later than usual, although it’s gone from nothing to a Cat 4 Hurricane (Bill) in what seemed like no time at all.  So, if you haven’t already incorporated hurricane planning, get going.  The image above was taken from the NOAA National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center and represents the current location and forecast track of Hurricane Bill, which, at the time of the forecast, was already a Category 4 hurricane, with top sustained winds of 115 knots.  A fairly dramatic start to the season, I’d say.

BoatUS Hurricane Resource Center Website Screen Shot

BoatUS Hurricane Resource Center Website Screen Shot

There have always been lots of separate websites with useful information on weather, planing and preparation strategies, but now the Boat Owners Assocation of the U.S. (BoatUS) has put much of it together into one well-organized website.  You need to add this one to your favorites; perhaps even consider making it your temporary start page if you are cruising in hurricant waters.  This link takes you to the extremely comprehensive site from BoatUS.

According to BoatUS Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance, “The time to think about storm preparations is now, before a hurricane watch is posted for your area.”  Adriance notes that typical storm preparations include hauling boats from marinas or removing them from boat lifts and securing them ashore with tie downs, reducing windage by removing things like biminis and sails, adding extras lines and chafe protection to boats in a slip, and other measures.

At the online BoatU.S. Hurricane Resource Center , boaters can find a downloadable 12-page Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes, a hurricane preparation worksheet, and current hurricane tracking charts with up-to-the minute storm tracking tools with landfall strike probabilities, wind band information and “spaghetti” models showing forecasters’ predicted storm paths,  “Our goal with the web site is to give everything you ever wanted to know about hurricane preparation, and it’s open for anyone to use,” adds Adriance.

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