The tropics are unusually quiet around the globe today, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be prepared for whatever the 2019 hurricane season will bring. In Florida, today marks the final day of a sales tax holiday in which certain storm preparation items may be purchased free of sales taxes.
According to hurricane expert Dr. Phil Klotzbach, who just days ago released Colorado State University’s updated Atlantic tropical outlook, said yesterday, “The globe has had no hurricane-strength tropical cyclones since May 3. Only once since 1990 has the globe had 0 hurricanes from May 4 through June 5 – in 2016. Currently no areas are being monitored for imminent tropical cyclone development.” Saturday June 1st marked the start of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season which will run through the end of November.
While things are quiet, the National Hurricane Center remains busy. Located west of downtown Miami in University Park, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues daily tropical weather outlooks and put all of their preparation over the preceding six months into action.
“We ourselves are getting ready for the hurricane center but we can’t do it alone,” said Ken Graham, the Director of the National Hurricane Center. This will be his second season at the center. He was on hand along with other meteorologists to speak with the media on the 2019 season. “It’s all about preparedness and knowing your risk,” said Graham when asked what the start of the season should mean to those who live in any area which may be impacted by a storm. He went on to say that half of the fatalities is the storm surge and urged those who may be subject to know if they are in an evacuation zone. “Get yourself out of that danger and if you’re told to leave you need to do so.”
Over the past six months he and the other meteorologists continue to improve the way a storm’s dangers are communicated to the public; this year was no different. “We’ve done so much work trying to separate the hazards and bring new information to people.” Graham mentioned the new storm surge watch and warnings products that have been issued but added that it is not just text anymore. “You’re seeing it graphically one hundred miles inland.”
“It just takes one.” Ken Graham, Director of the @NHC_Atlantic, tells us regardless of what seasonal outlooks call for, it’s important to be prepared before the threat arrives. #HurricaneStrong? pic.twitter.com/Fu8L8NeLar
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) May 23, 2019
Graham also stressed that tropical systems are not just coastal events. “Just the last three years alone, 83% of the fatalities has been from inland flooding”, stressing that of those half were from people in automobiles. “Let’s start talking about and let’s be safe from inland water, these aren’t just a coastal event.”
With a number of forecasts out about the upcoming season, Graham wants to make it clear the no matter what the forecast calls for, the most important number is “one. ” There could be one storm on Earth and if it impacts you it’s a busy season,” he said,
In addition to reviewing a hurricane plan you have in place it is also a perfect time to stock up on supplies you will need to get through that one storm which may impact you. Residents in Florida have a chance to take advantage of a sales tax holiday on a number of items related to disaster preparedness. Through tonight, items like tarps, fuel tanks, batteries, reusable ice packs, and portable radios can be purchased without local or state sales tax. It is expected to save shoppers in the state over five million dollars but also acts as a reminder to get those supplies and be prepared.
“It’s so important to have multiple ways to get information when the powers out. After these events it’s still critical to keep yourself safe,” said Graham.