The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday released a below-normal forecast for this year's Atlantic hurricane season. But businesses aren't taking chances and are already making preparations.
The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The agency forecasts a 70 percent chance of six to 11 named tropical storms, of which three to six could become hurricanes. There's also a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.
For small businesses in particular, the storm forecasts are critical, as many find themselves unprepared for costly natural disasters. In fact roughly 40 percent of businesses that close due to hurricanes don't reopen, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Experts say planning ahead including management of offsite document storage and emergency kits is key. "The ability of small business owners to plan ahead and have some things in place will go a long way," said Jim Gustin, senior property specialist of Risk Control at Travelers Insurance.
Other storm-related strategies can include pursuing an impact summary on how a storm could affect the business, and meeting with insurance professionals. Insurance coverage plans vary depending on location and type of business.