WASHINGTON (GrayDC) It may not be hurricane season, but experts are taking a look at the impact past hurricanes have had and are gearing up for the next one. Washington Correspondent Jillian Angeline speaks with experts about what you can do now to get ready.
It’s a sound and sight all too familiar for some coastal communities, hurricanes cause billions of dollars of destruction each year in its path, but experts say it’s hard to predict how a storm will behave.
“The problem with Florence is that it stalled and produced 20 to 40 inches of rain over very wide areas,” said Dr. Gerry Bell, Hurricane Climate Specialist and Research Meteorologist at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
Hurricane Michael posed a different set of problems. It made landfall last October with 155 miles per hour winds, decimating entire towns and killing more than 40 people.
“Since 1995, we’ve been in a high activity era again. We’re averaging 3 to 4 major hurricanes a year,” said Bell. He said these storm patterns last anywhere from 25 to 40 years.
“I see no indication that we’re out of this high activity era,” he predicts.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration says they won’t issue their official pre-season forecast for the upcoming hurricane season until May.
But MIT disaster resilience expert Dr. Jeremy Gregory says it’s never too early to prepare.
“Any protection against changes to windows or doors is a really big thing,” said Dr. Jeremy Gregory, Executive Director, Research Scientist, MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering.
It can be as simple as installing pressure resistant doors and shutters. Having an emergency plan can also save lives.
“Do you need to evacuate? Are you in a flood zone?” said Bell.
While forecasting tools have improved over the years, experts say there are still a lot of uncertainties predicting how strong a hurricane will get and where it will make landfall. The hurricane season starts June 1.
Experts encourage those living in hurricane prone areas to visit FEMA's website and check out the National Hurricane Center's website.