Are you ready for hurricane season?
We’re three weeks away from the start of hurricane season, and Florida’s emergency responders are ready. Are you? The Governor’s Hurricane Conference commenced this week, and its theme was “Moving Forward in Changing Times.” The messages, however, were clearly about the challenges faced in these changing times. Here are a few highlights:
Over 250,000 New Residents with Limited Hurricane History
Gov. Rick Scott is proud of the fact that more people are migrating to Florida, yet he acknowledges that new transplants make the job of emergency management much harder. Educating people about an evacuation route, who goes and who stays, preparedness, mitigation and all the other disaster recovery actions is ongoing, of course. But newbies may need different motivation and messages than resident veterans.
Even native Floridians have a lot to learn, according to the director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
It’s Dangerous to Relate Each New Storm to Experience
Rick Knabb of the NHC says your personal experience from past storms does not matter because every year there is a unique set of storm activity. He said people need to focus on the specific hazard for the storm that is approaching at the moment. Forget the last one, he said at the Conference because chances are the next storm will be nothing like the previous one.
Knabb also cautioned against relying too much on the forecast track; the hurricane models don’t tell you about the individual hazards that can happen where you live. There are updates for the NHC services in 2013, and they include providing a focus on where the strongest winds will occur and moving towards providing storm surge watches and warnings.
Hurricanes are Not Just Coastal Events
Science of the storm threat points to bigger and stronger storms that impact a wide area, such as Superstorm Sandy While most people equate strong winds with hurricanes, fewer consider the dangers of inland flooding. As storms move inland, they can bring heavy rains, with double-digit rainfall occurring in a couple of hours. That’s why flood insurance is something deserving serious consideration for those who live far from the beach.
It has been seven years since a major storm (Category 3 or higher) hit the U.S. You already know that, so here’s what you may not know: That is the longest span in over a century. Our long reprieve can’t last.
Complacency makes disaster victims; preparedness makes disaster survivors.