Believe it or not, it’s that time of year. The Atlantic hurricane season has “officially” started today and will last until November 30, 2014. Obviously, our planet doesn’t care about specific calendar dates. These are just used by us humans as a statistical reference point. There have been cases of tropical cyclones (the official name for tropical depressions, storms, and hurricanes) that have occurred before or after these dates. NOAA and the National Weather Service have been on a week long campaign to encourage preparedness in case of a scenario where you would have to evacuate or shelter in place during a tropical cyclone event. In light of the start of the season, I’d like to pass along a few links for folks who live or have interests in hurricane prone regions.
The National Hurricane Center is your one-stop-shop for all things concerning tropical cyclones.
The National Weather Service’s Southern Region site has some handy info including several tracking maps that can be printed.
Here’s NOAA’s outlook for the 2014 Atlantic season. Please keep in mind that this is only an outlook and not a specific forecast. A below average year may be ahead, but it takes just one major hurricane to devastate a large region of North America. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 is a perfect example.
Here’s some very important information from the World Meteorological Organization on the dangers of storm surges. Many people may associate most tropical cyclone deaths with winds or the occasional tornado that does often accompany many hurricanes. Truth be known, the storm surge and resultant flooding kill far more people and is a danger that should not be taken lightly. This article has many good links with important information…so please read it carefully.
The American Red Cross has some great information on preparing a safety kit and other basic safety information.
Finally, everyone has their favorite media source of information. Along with The Weather Channel and WeatherNation, many broadcast meteorologists have an insight on your specific areas and local conditions that will be of great importance to you. For personal reasons, I don’t offer recommendations since your personal preferences are subjective and should guide you. I will offer this somewhat unpopular suggestion and recommend (with the most sincere intentions for your safety) to only get potentially life-saving information from NOAA, your local National Weather Service office, the National Hurricane Center, and the broadcast meteorologists of your choice. Weather hobbyists that are hundreds of miles from you are generally not good sources of information and all too often use fear mongering in order to gain attention for self-serving purposes. It happens during winter storms, severe thunderstorm and tornado events, and it will happen this year when tropical cyclones are present. In other words, caveat emptor.
I hope these links are helpful to you and offer valuable information. This list isn’t exhaustive and there are many other sites with good info. Knowledge is power and the best kind of power to have when facing a robust hurricane is preparedness.