FRAMINGHAM, MA – Although the Atlantic Hurricane Season is defined as June 1st to November 30th, 75% of the 40 tropical storm systems that have impacted the New England region in the past century have struck during the months of August and September. The fact that Massachusetts was impacted by Hurricane Arthur during early July, reminds us that we must not let our guard down. To increase public awareness of the potential devastating impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms and the preparedness steps we can take to mitigate those impacts and reduce the risk of property damage, injuries and loss of life, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is again making important information available to ensure the continued safety of our citizens and property.

“As recently as 2012, we witnessed the destructive power of Hurricane Sandy in neighboring states immediately to our south. While Massachusetts was fortunate to be spared the worst of that storm, it reminds us of the importance of preparing for the region’s next major storm,” stated MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has forecast a near-normal or below-normal 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Although one might take comfort in such a forecast, history has demonstrated that frequency of storms is not the most important factor, as it only takes one hurricane or tropical storm to severely impact our area.

Massachusetts has been impacted by numerous hurricanes and tropical storms over recent decades. For example, in 1991, Hurricane Bob, a Category 2 Hurricane with winds between 91 and 110 mph, caused almost $1 billion in damage. The inland portions of Massachusetts have also been greatly impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms, such as 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene, whose rainfall brought devastating flooding in Central and Western Massachusetts.

Because advanced planning and preparation can safeguard lives, protect property and enhance the Commonwealth’s resilience, Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed the month of July as Hurricane Preparedness Month in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The proclamation can be found at: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/mema/hurricane-preparedness-month-july-2014.pdf.