Hurricane season, evacuation preps underway
Almost a month into hurricane season, the tropics are quiet but all major forecasting services are predicting an above-average storm season this year with a new prediction that the troublesome “Loop Current” has returned early to Florida. Plus a new survey shows 1 in 4 Floridians will ignore hurricane evacuations should they be issued, with an expected increased demand on local public shelters instead.
NOAA Prediction: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-normal hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. NOAA forecasts a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). NOAA joins Colorado State University and AccuWeather in forecasting an active hurricane season. The Gulf of Mexico is already warmer than average. Oceanography professor Nick Shay at the University of Miami warns that even more worrying is a current of warm tropical water that is looping unusually far into the Gulf for this time of year, “with the power to turn tropical storms into monster hurricanes.” It’s called the Loop Current, and it’s “the 800-pound gorilla of Gulf hurricane risks….looking a lot like it did in 2005, the year Cat 5 Hurricane Katrina struck.”
Stay or Go? An AAA survey shows that while more Floridians are concerned about this year’s hurricane season, there’s a large number that don’t have an emergency plan, with 25% saying they would ignore evacuation warnings altogether. Of those who would evacuate, 60% say they’d only leave if there was a Cat 3 or stronger hurricane approaching. High gas prices, lack of options for pet care, and simply not knowing where they’d go are the top reasons given for simply staying at home and taking their chances. You can view the full survey here.
Meanwhile, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management says it’s expecting and preparing for increased demand for public shelter space if hurricanes threaten. Division Director Kevin Guthrie told the News Service of Florida, “I theorized that we’re probably going to have more people heading to shelters because of the financial situations going on in the state,” including high inflation and gas prices. Guthrie said his team is ready to send staff to help augment local shelter operations but he’s advising the public to consider staying with friends or family who may live just outside the evacuation zone to help preserve space at shelters.
Prepare Now (Please): Tropical Storm Alex over Memorial Day weekend was a gentle reminder to be prepared. The 10”-12” of rain it dumped in spots in Miami-Dade County caused minor roadway and vehicle flooding in vulnerable areas in downtown Miami near Biscayne Bay. I’m happy to share again my Lisa’s Lucky 7 Hurricane Season Prep for our readers and their families and clients. It’s a season preparation tool, not something you wait to take out once the tropical storm watch or warning has been issued. This is the 30th anniversary year of Hurricane Andrew striking South Florida. For those of us who were there and witnessed the devastation, we truly learned the sage advice that “being forewarned is being forearmed.” Please prepare now!
LMA Newsletter of 6-27-22