Seven Lessons We’ve Learned From This Historic Hurricane Season

We’re chugging through one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record. We’ve seen 27 named storms so far this year—just one storm shy of the all-time record set back in 2005—and an unprecedented 11 of those named storms made landfall in the United States.

Hurricane forecasting and preparations have come a long way over the last few decades, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Going through such a prolific hurricane season gives us a unique opportunity to learn what we can do better to prepare for and recover from future storms.

1: Hurricanes Don’t Watch The Calendar

We’re still more than a month away from the end of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, and we’re well past the peak of the season, which typically occurs during the second week of September.

The concepts of “hurricane season” and “peak season” are based on climatology, which gives us a good idea of when conditions are most favorable for tropical development across different parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

Even though those seem like hard boundaries, tropical cyclones can form before June 1 and after November 30. We have to keep our guards up and monitor the forecasts until the dry air of winter finally shuts down activity over the ocean.

Additional storms in the Caribbean and western Atlantic are certainly possible over the next couple of weeks. It’s worth pointing out that the last storm to form during that historic 2005 season formed on December 30.

2: The Number Of Storms Doesn’t Account For Their Impacts

While this is (so far) the second-most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, many of the storms that contributed to this year’s count were relatively weak and short-lived. However, even though we’ve seen a multitude of unremarkable tropical storms, this year would’ve been memorable in its own right even without the astronomical storm count. 

Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Sally, Delta, and Zeta all made landfall in the United States as hurricanes, and several of those storms left a tremendous amount of damage in their wake. And almost every one of those hurricanes intensified right up to the point of landfall, which made matters worse for communities affected by the storms.

3: A Close Call Doesn’t Mean The Next Storm Will Miss

Hurricanes Laura and Delta both tracked west of New Orleans. Hurricane Marco dissipated before reaching New Orleans. Hurricane Sally went east of New Orleans. So when the forecasts showed Hurricane Zeta making a direct hit on New Orleans this week, I heard plenty of “ah, it’ll turn” from folks who live in and near the city. Zeta’s eye went directly over downtown New Orleans, exposing a major city and its suburbs to 100 MPH winds.

While overall steering patterns generally favor one track over another, areas that experience close calls aren’t immune from getting hit by subsequent storms. Never let one storm instill a false sense of

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Lessons To Tech Leaders And Insights From Forbes CIO Newsletter Subscribers Amid Digital Transformations

One overarching problem amid this election season in the U.S and pandemic: uncertainty. Major hurdles remain for another stimulus package, retailers and other companies are adjusting their approaches, and there are speculations on impacts for taxes, investments, and retirements in the next 60 days. There is certainty about the worries for data security as tech leaders were discussing how to protect their businesses through AI at the most recent Forbes CIO Summit Virtual Series. However, advances of 5G (now with iPhones) is emerging an environment that will reward bold companies that are willing to try new architectures and new techniques. 

In this special edition I took a look at recent events around leadership lessons from tech leaders amid accelerations in digital transformations, upcoming events shaping strategies of tech leaders, what is top of mind for Forbes CIO newsletter subscribers, discovering new fintech billionaires and how to plan virtual strategic retreats for those harnessing cutting-edge technologies and making crucial strategic bets on the computing everywhere revolution.

Forbes Connect2020 Forbes CIO Next Virtual Series – Episode 1 – Forbes Connect

What Forbes CIO Newsletter Subscribers Are Reading

The following is a collection of articles read most by Forbes CIO newsletter subscribers this month.

An impactful career legacy is formed because you intentionally create uplifting and impactful experiences for others. Have you been as intentional about your legacy as you’ve been about your career, or are you so busy building and working a career that you haven’t considered the lasting legacy that you actually want attached to it? 

MORE FROM FORBESThe Pandemic Plutocrats: How Covid Is Creating New Fintech Billionaires

Gary Hoberman wants to reinvent the way that companies create software applications. The former CIO of giant insurer MetLife
MET
is building a software startup that’s just achieved unicorn status.

Oracle wants Google to pay it $9 billion in compensation for using application programming interfaces (APIs) from its Java programming language without permission. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Oracle’s
ORCL
favor, CIOs and their developers could end up having to pay for all kinds of APIs that they are currently using for free.

Leadership is about securing followers and more importantly maximizing the collaborative strength of collective intelligence. To get AI right, CEOs & Board Directors need to learn more & leverage proven adult learning methods to crack the Big Data Gaps and low success rates of sustaining applied AI.

There are 350% more businesses engaged in the design, manufacturing, and sales of wearable exoskeletons for workers performing various physical activities over the past half-decade. 

A McKinsey report has noted that, “The amount of data in our world has been exploding. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data, not just a few data-oriented managers. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social

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Four Lessons From AT&T On Climate Resilience And Business Continuity

As leaders at AT&T work to mitigate climate change and adapt to its pending impacts, the reality of climate change on business becomes evident. Extreme weather, biodiversity loss, and natural disasters stand out among global risks the organization—and many others—face. For executives shaping long-term business strategy, it’s a reality they can’t afford to ignore.

“It’s not just AT&T. I’m seeing this more and more in all kinds of industries where companies are saying, ‘If this is the reality, then let’s prepare for it, let’s deal with it,’” says Antoine Diffloth, director of data insights in the Chief Data Office at AT&T.

As one of the world’s largest telecom companies by market cap, AT&T’s essential infrastructure, including cell towers and base stations, stands vulnerable to climate change impacts. In response, the telecom giant engaged in a pioneering public-private collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

Together, they developed a Climate Change Analysis Tool (CCAT) capable of identifying areas of the AT&T network most at risk in the US Southeast. The project used the data-gathering and supercomputing power of the leading national lab and the visual and analytic capabilities of geographic information system (GIS) technology.

With an exceptional degree of detail, executives were able to forecast how infrastructure assets in four states—Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida—could be affected by, for example, a 50-year storm event in the coming decades. Based on the success of that effort, the analysis is being extended to cover the entire contiguous US to project climate impacts such as flooding, wildfires, and drought at regional, local, and neighborhood scale.

Early in the initial process, the team realized that while the location intelligence clearly exposed company climate risk, they needed a way to share the insight. To do this, they built GIS smart maps that could quickly communicate with stakeholders to support decisions about adaptation and resilience.

Here are four things executives can learn from AT&T about preparing for climate change.

1: Risk is more immediate than we think.

A 2019 UN report indicated climate change is affecting all aspects of the natural environment, as well as the health and wellbeing of the global population. Authors of the report warned based on current trends, the planet will experience a four to five-degree temperature increase by the end of this century.

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist and climate expert points to impending extremes already occurring that will accelerate without immediate, adequate action. “Climate change is not going to be a gradual increase over the next 10, 20, 30 years,” warns Shepherd. “I fear that there will be places that have succumbed to sea-level rise. We will be facing here in Georgia some odd tropical disease that 30 years ago you’d have to go down near the equator to find. Life as we know it will change.”

Climate change will have increasing effects on business supply chains, infrastructure, workforce, and business continuity. In fact, the cost of climate change is already becoming more apparent. According to

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