Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hurricane Conference Day 3

Do you know if you live in a flood zone? Do you know if you live in an evacuation zone?

Flooding and storm surge are the biggest threat to life and property.

In today's session of the National Hurricane conference, the message was loud and clear… know the answers to the above questions and have a plan of action.

It began with the Director of the National Hurricane Center, Dr. Richard Knabb emphasizing that while seasonal forecasts are a valid measure of storm activity, not one of them will tell you where and if a hurricane will make landfall. He stressed the rather quiet 1992 season when "Andrew" made landfall in what otherwise was a tranquil year. The bottom line is it only takes one.

He presented numbers that show how much work we as members of the media still need to do.

A recent survey says that today:

  • 54% of those questioned still believe taping windows is a good idea
  • 84% believe you should only evacuate based on wind speeds.   

Broadcast meteorologists need to do a better job communicating threats and actions to be taken when a threat arises.

Starting now, please if you think taping a window is a good idea, STOP. It does nothing to protect your property, you or your family. Only wood or other shutter-type materials will work.

As far as assessing the possibility of leaving your property based on wind... he is right. How many of us have heard the following, "I'll only leave if its a category three or above". The truth of the matter is water is just as destructive and deadly.  Look at Sandy when it struck the Northeast, it was barely a hurricane and the mess it caused and the lives it took could be compared to those of a stronger storm.

Which brings us back to leaving only when a "Major Hurricane" is threatening. What is major?  We know from the wind scale that would be a category 3 or above, but even lesser systems can be as damaging.  Dr. Knabb, other specialists, and myself urge you to prepare now and asses each storm as it approaches.

The Director of FEMA Craig Fugate, also drove home the point regarding long range outlooks.

 He says they should not be the main focus... that you should be ready no matter what.

He also added that Broward County has a great risk for high damage costs post a hurricane strike. Even more reason to make sure you are ready.

The 7Weather team and I, pledge to present all the threats that may accompany a system in order to help you better decide when to evacuate.

By the way our hurricane map and guide which will be available in just a few weeks absolutely FREE, will have what you need to know to find out if you are in an evacuation zone and where you can go to ride out a storm.

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