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Hurricane season is coming fast, now is the time to prepare

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)...
This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Hurricane Laura churning in the Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.(Source: NOAA via AP)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It’s just about that time already. “National Hurricane Preparedness Week” runs from May 9 through the 15.

After 2020′s barrage of storms, many are hoping for a quieter season. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said, “The 2020 season we had nine storms rapidly intensify. It was just incredible.”

“I think in the process of looking at lessons learned from 2020 we have to realize every one of these systems is so different,” said Graham.

He spent many years as head of the local New Orleans and Baton Rouge National Weather Service Office.

“When you look at the Louisiana coastline, large and slow is our nemesis. We evacuate mainly because of the storm surge. It’s the water. Historically 90 percent of fatalities are because of water.”

Rain flooding could also be an issue. That’s why determining your risks sits high on the checklist for “National Hurricane Preparedness Week.”

“They’re all so incredibly different. That’s why you listen to those impacts, be prepared for those impacts,” said Graham.

An adaptable evacuation plan is a must. Checking insurance coverage, making home repairs and upgrades are all recommended now before the march of storms begins.

Graham said, “I mean six years in a row we’ve had storms before the official start of the season.”

One reason regular tropical forecast outlooks will now begin earlier starting May 15. The official season start date remains June 1 for now.

“We’re putting a team together, but it’s not just the United States. We’re responsible for a lot of countries so we’re going to have to bring it up in one of our World Meteorological Organization meetings to talk about it, but I want a lot of social science into it.”

Dr. Mike Brennan, Branch Chief at the National Hurricane Center, said forecast models continue to improve. He said, “We’re getting more and more of the data from the aircraft into the models now. So that’s beginning to make a big difference and we can actually see the improvements in the HWRF models intensity forecast especially when it has that aircraft reconnaissance data.”

But having a plan as the storm season approaches is still the most important strategy. Now is the time to start gathering supplies, shoring up savings and registering for government-assisted evacuations so that in the event of a storm it’s easier to act.

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