As an active hurricane season begins to wind down, communities have an opportunity to assess this year's impacts and begin to prepare for next year and the longer term.
An updated tool from NOAA that pulls together more than 150 years of historical hurricane information for coastal US locations impacted by these storms documents when, where, and how severely hurricanes have belted each community in the past. That doesn't guarantee what the pattern will be in the future, of course, but it can be a helpful tool for preparing for and covering this issue locally, especially since memories of old storms may have faded.
One noteworthy part of the new tool is the accompanying population data. That's particularly important since a storm hitting a spot on the coast now will almost certainly have a far greater destructive impact than it would have in, say, 1938, given the huge increase in coastal population in recent decades. The new site also has data on occurrence and trends for fatalities and dollar losses.