It’s June 1 and that means the official start to the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season had arrived. For the next six months the Atlantic Basin will be monitored closely by hurricane trackers all over the world.
What is it about hurricanes that captivates the imaginations of so many people? A large part of it has to do with proximity: most people who care enough to track hurricanes more than just passively actually live on or very near the coast. Thus, these folks have a vested interest in what may be coming from the tropics.
Still, a large number of people from all over the country and indeed, from around the world, track hurricanes with great interest. I think it is the still mysterious nature of these children of the oceans that draws people in. It’s a power far greater than any of us can begin to comprehend and so we are glued to our computers, our mobile devices and our TVs and radios when the likes of a Hugo, Andrew or Katrina comes calling.
So what’s in store for 2013? Every respected hurricane forecasting entity from universities to NOAA to private firms have all suggested that this season could be quite busy. What none of them can tell us though, not with any degree of accuracy, is where these future hurricanes will end up. Will it be your back yard? Will they remain just far enough off the East Coast to warrant only concern but little else? There’s just no way to know for sure. We can venture to guess based on past patterns but I think it is better to be aware and be prepared.
Speaking of being prepared, what does that mean? For me, I think it is two-part concept. First, it’s about education and knowing the enemy. The more you know about something that can potentially harm you, the better you can prepare for it. Second, it’s about doing what you can to mitigate loss over the long term. Sure the preparedness tips are helpful: stock up on this and that for the storm event itself but what about long term plans to lessen the impacts over time? Simple things like having a generator and knowing how to properly use and maintain it can help to save your refrigerated goods and provide some level of comfort after a landfall. Perhaps it’s getting to know your insurance agent and your policy a little better. Why wait until everyone in your community is calling for help to get to know what’s covered and what’s not? The little things that can be done ahead of the watches and warnings will go a long way in minimizing stress and you may fare a little better because of it.
This season we will be promoting our iPhone (and soon to be released) Android app. It’s called Hurricane Impact and is exactly what it sounds like. We focus on the impact from tropical storms and hurricanes and that’s what it comes down to, right? If they all stayed out to sea, the hurricane app market would be a shadow of what it currently is. Hurricane Impact is affordable at $2.99 in the App Store and will give users a daily video blog, field mission video blogs, live wind and pressure data from our own weather stations, live web cam images and a new and innovative “Surge Cam” that we’ll set up to monitor storm surge along the coast. Add our own tracking maps, blog, Twitter and Facebook feeds and it’s a great addition to your weather apps collection. Click here to get it now.
One this first day of the season I am happy to report that there are no areas of concern in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf. We may see a low pressure area evolve in the Gulf of Mexico later this week but it looks to remain weak and rather disorganized. Still, rain chances may be on the increase for the Florida peninsula as we move through the week so keep an eye out for that.
I’ll be hosting a special live Ustream broadcast on Monday night – 8pm ET – to discuss the season and talk about our plans for field coverage. To watch live, simply go to our Ustream channel: Ustream.tv/hurricanetrack on Monday evening. I will have Mike Watkins and Jesse Bass, both long time colleagues and great friends of mine, on with me to round out the discussions. Hope you can tune in – if not, I’ll save it for later viewing anytime.
I’ll post a blog at least once a day, every day of the season. With that said, I’ll have more tomorrow.