“You can use the fact that seasonal forecasts are coming out to just raise awareness that hurricane season is here," said National Hurricane Center's Michael Brennan.
Predictions for the 2020 hurricane season have started to roll out and most of the forecast the season will be above average. Some experts have even compare the season to other such as 2010 or 2017. That alone hits a little too close to home for people who were in Southwest Florida during Hurricane Irma.
Brennan, a Branch Chief at the National Hurricane Center, said their agency’s predictions won’t come out until the end of the month–– but even then–– comparing seasons could be dangerous.
"You could have had a busy season one year, but your particular area wasn’t affected," he explained. "And then you have a quiet season, but your area gets affected and that makes it busy for you.”
Brennan said the key is to prepare. They hope an adjustment to their forecasting timeline will be able to help people with that this year.
Before— the forecast predictions would jump from 48 to 72 hours. Now— they’ll add more information at the 60 hour mark.
“It's such a critical time for evacuation decision making, and it can also help us refine that wind threat. [For example], what are the chances of getting hurricane-force winds at a given location.”
Especially since the coronavirus could impact storm preparations, giving people more time to get ready could be key this year. Brennan said it’s never too early to stock up.
“The message to the people in Southwest Florida–– because it’s such a hurricane vulnerable area and it’s very vulnerable to storm surge–– you have to be ready. You have to have that evacuation plan in place.”