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Hurricane season 2018 is over, but disasters don't follow calendars so be ready year-round

It's Dec.  1. That means we have to wait just 24 days until we can unwrap our presents, or 23 if you rip 'em open on Christmas Eve.

It's also the first day in six months that we haven't been counting down the annual Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compiled the above video that compresses Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) East satellite imagery of the entire six-plus-month season (yes, it started early again this year) into one minute.

NOAA's YouTube presentation also gets this week's special video Saturday Shout Out. A secondary shout also goes out to CNN for its 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts feature.

Hurricane season high- and low-lights: This 2018 hurricane season was the third consecutive one where we had above-average and extremely damaging storms.

There were 15 named tropical systems and eight hurricanes, two of which reached major status.

When you total the damages in all the places where 2018's storms struck, the overall price tag came to more than $33 billion.

The season started about a week early, with the May 25 formation of Subtropical Storm Alberto off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It was the fourth consecutive year in which a storm developed before the official start of the season. Alberto made landfall three days later near Laguna Beach, Florida.

The next storm, Beryl, was the first hurricane to form in the Eastern Atlantic during the month of July since Bertha in 2008.

Chris, which was upgraded to a hurricane on July 10, became the earliest second hurricane in a season since 2005.

The 2018 hurricane season also was the first to feature four simultaneously active named storms: Florence, Helene, Isaac and Joyce.

Oscar was the last named storm of the 2018 season. He reached tropical storm status on Oct. 27, spinning about 910 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. Oscar reached hurricane status the next day, but weakened to a post-tropical cyclone on Halloween without threatening any populated areas.

Calendar can't constrain catastrophes: Thankfully, November was a quiet tropical storm month. Let's hope things stay that way.

But recovering from this year's hurricanes and associated flooding and wind damages will continue well beyond yesterday's official season-ending Nov. 30 date.

And, as Alberto's early arrival this year showed, tropical systems don't always stay within the official seasonal parameters.

Neither do other disasters. They can, and do, happen year-round. So even though we're into December, stay diligent.

The ol' blog's e ol' blog's special Storm Warnings pages (yes, it's plural now; the first page explains the change) can help. This collection of posts offer advice on preparing for, recovering from and helping those who face too-often each year must face an angry Mother Nature.

Storm_warning_sign

The assorted items on dealing with disasters apply to the wide range of natural catastrophes that can (and do) happen 365 days a year, so check it out even if you're not in a hurricane-prone part of the country.

Here's hoping you don't need the storm advice and associated tax help, like extended tax deadlines and claiming the itemized tax deduction for damages from a major natural disaster.

But just in case, it's always better to be prepared. And be careful!

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