Climate change continues to impact workplace safety adversely. Recent record-breaking temperatures caused by heat domes and early and fierce wildfires compound significant drought conditions affecting workers.
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is well underway, and atmospheric and oceanic conditions remain conducive for an above-average hurricane season, according to the annual mid-season update issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.
The latest outlook reflects that the number of expected named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) is 15-21, including 7-10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), of which 3-5 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds 111 mph or greater). This updated outlook includes the five named storms that have formed so far, with Hurricane Elsa becoming the earliest 5th named storm on record.
“After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. “NOAA will continue to provide the science and services that are foundational to keeping communities prepared for any threatening storm.”
NOAA scientists predict that the likelihood of an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is 65%. There is a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
“A mix of competing for oceanic and atmospheric conditions generally favor above-average activity for the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, including the potential return of La Nina in the months ahead,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
Atlantic sea surface temperatures are not expected to be as warm as they were during the record-breaking 2020 season; however, reduced vertical wind shear and an enhanced west Africa monsoon contribute to the current conditions that can increase seasonal hurricane activity. These conditions are set against the backdrop of the ongoing warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, favoring more active hurricane seasons since 1995.
“Now is the time for families and communities to ensure their preparations are in place,” said National Weather Service Director Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D. “These storms can be devastating, so be prepared for all possible outcomes by staying tuned to the forecast and following safety information and possible evacuation notifications issued by emergency officials.”
NOAA’s update to the 2021 outlook covers the entire six-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30. Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides the hurricane track, and intensity forecasts that emergency managers and communities rely on across areas at risk during a landfalling storm. NHC is the source for all watches and warnings for tropical storms, hurricanes, and related storm surge. The seasonal outlook from NOAA is not a landfall forecast as landfalls are typically only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline.
Climate change is a growing threat to workplace safety. The workers’ compensation system faces its most significant challenges ahead: temperatures, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes become more intense, compounding by the enduring Sars-Cov2 virus and the variant surge. Preparation and prevention are essential to mitigate this perfect storm.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Blog: Workers ' Compensation
LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters