TALLAHASSEE, Fla Florida hasn’t been hit by a hurricane since Wilma in 2005. The forecast for hurricane season is slightly below average, but the National Hurricane Center says that doesn’t mean the state isn’t at risk.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed off some of its storm tracking technology Thursday in Tallahassee.
NOAA’s hurricane preparedness tour stopped in Florida on the same day they released their hurricane season forecast. They’re predicting 8 to 13 named storms including 3 to 6 hurricanes, possibly 2 major ones. The prediction is slightly below normal for hurricane season, but experts say Floridians shouldn’t relax.
Daniel Brown is with the National Hurricane Center. “Take 1992 for example, only had 7 named storms, 4 hurricanes, 1 major, but that major was Category 5 hurricane Andrew that devastated South Florida.”
Planes like this one will actually fly into a hurricane to collect data, and, for the first time this hurricane season, storm surge graphics will be available to help the public.
Storm surge is typically the most deadly and destructive force during a hurricane, according to Jamie Rhome, a NOAA Storm Surge Specialist. “The graphic will have two primary things we’re trying to communicate: how deep the water will be above land, and how far inland the water will go.”
Commander Peter Siegel flies into the storms to collect information for NOAA. He flew into category five hurricane Katrina twice. “Every hurricane is unique, every hurricane is different, sometimes they’re really, rough, and sometimes it’s like driving over a speed bump in your car.”
Florida’s Emergency Response Team has been running mock hurricane exercises all week…just in case.
Floridians can purchase items like flashlights, first aid kits, and other hurricane supplies tax free for 8 days starting May 31st. Hurricane season starts June 1st.