Tag Archives: Gulf coast hurricane preparation

2017 Hurricane Season Review

2017 Named storm tracks

2017 Named storm tracks

Summary:

  • Above average storm activity
  • Anna Maria Island evacuation for Irma, but no flooding, contrary to forecast 5′ – 15′ surge
  • 2 landfalls on Florida Gulf Coast (Irma and Philippe)
  • Broad swath of property damage, trees downed, and power outages across Florida from Irma
  • Minor damage to Anna Maria Island properties and trees. Maximum wind reported was 92mph as the eye of Irma traveled inland of the island
  • Anna Maria City Pier and restaurant damaged beyond repair
Anna Maria City Pier hurricane damage

Anna Maria City Pier hurricane damage Photo: Jack Elka, The Islander

Some Ficus, Banyan, Norfolk Pines blew over

The 2017 hurricane season was more active than predicted by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecast team. Three major hurricanes struck the United States: Harvey, Irma and Maria, causing devastating destruction to islands in the Caribbean and other portions of the tropical Atlantic:

“The 2017 hurricane season was extremely active. Overall, our predicted numbers from our early July and August issue dates for named storm and hurricane formations were relatively close to what was observed, but our early season predictions and our predictions for integrated metrics such as Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) were far too low,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast at CSU.

Atlantic Hurricane Season April June 2017 forecast 2017 Actual
Named storms (>35mph) 11      13  16
Hurricanes (>72mph)  4       6  10
Major hurricanes (>111mph)  2       2  6
US landfall likelihood 42%   55%  31%
Gulf Coast landfall 24%   32%  13%

The Named Storms:

Arlene – Tropical Storm Apr 19-21 pre-season in Eastern Atlantic

Bret – Tropical Storm Jun 19 – 20 landfall Venezuela

Cindy – Tropical Storm Jun 20 – 23 landfall central Gulf Coast

Don – Tropical Storm Jul 17 – 18 no effects on land

Franklin – Hurricane Cat 1 Aug 7- 10 affecting Yucatan Peninsula and eastern Mexico

Gert – Hurricane Cat 2 Aug 13 – 17 no effects on land

Harvey – Hurricane Cat 4 Aug 17 – Sep 1 Landfall Yucatan and massive flooding in Houston,Texas

Irma – Hurricane Cat 5 Aug 30 – Sep 12 Devastated Leeward Islands, northern Cuba, landfall SE Florida with coast to coast hurricane force wind

Jose – Hurricane Cat 4 Sep 5 – 21 no effects on land

Katia – Hurricane Cat 2 Sep 5 – 9 Landfall eastern Mexico

Lee – Hurricane Cat 3 Sep 15 – 29 no effects on land

Maria – Hurricane Cat 5 Sep 16 – Sep 30 Landfall in Caribbean islands, badly affecting Puerto Rico

Nate – Hurricane Cat 1 Oct 4 – 9 crossed central America and Yucatan

Ophelia – Hurricane Cat 3 Oct 9 – 15 no effects on land

Philippe – Tropical Storm Oct 28 – 29 crossed Cuba and Florida Keys

Rina – Tropical Storm Nov 6 – 9 no effects on land

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2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

The official start to the Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1st. Now is a good time to make preparations for an emergency evacuation and formulate your disaster plan, check your insurance, storm shutters, and put together emergency supplies.

The Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University has published its forecast for the Atlantic basin 2010 hurricane activity, based on over 58 years of past data and predictive statistical analysis. Early season forecasts are for the following:

Atlantic Hurricane SeasonApril 2010 forecast1950 – 2000 average
Named storms (>35mph)159.6
Hurricanes (>72mph)85.9
Major hurricanes (>111mph)42.3
US landfall likelihood69%52%
Gulf Coast landfall45%31%

According to forecasters Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, “We continue to foresee above-average activity for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. We have increased our seasonal forecast from the mid-point of our initial early December prediction due to a combination of anomalous warming of Atlantic tropical sea surface temperatures and a more confident view that the current El Niño will weaken. We anticipate an above-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall.” (as of 7 April 2010) For the full report click here.

Hurricane_Charley_Loop_FullThe active year of 2005 and Hurricane Katrina may have passed into memory, and the past few years have seen quiet seasons for the Florida Gulf Coast even as a record breaking two intense Category 5 hurricanes made landfall in Mexico 2007. In 2004 Hurricane Charlie over-washed North Captiva Island, causing major damage there and Charlotte Harbor surroundings. Although not far away, Anna Maria Island was unaffected by Charlie’s small but heavy footprint.

The frequency of hurricanes may have declined over the last 44 years but the intensity of storms has increased. Now with a much larger population and more dense development, Florida and the Sun Coast is more vulnerable to the effects of hurricanes than ever before.

Check your local and regional papers for hurricane preparedness information and tips that come out at this time of year, and know your evacuation routes and destination. Find a location that is not subject to flood zone evacuation advisories and as near as possible in order to avoid being trapped by traffic congestion and clogged roads. Avoid using public shelters, which will be over-crowded and under-serviced. See flood zone and shelter information for Manatee County or the telephone book for a map.

Major Hurricanes 1922-2009Anna Maria Island’s three bridges to the mainland will all be closed at some time in a major storm, preventing egress of residents or entrance by emergency services. Consider the ramifications of ‘riding out the storm’ or trying to return when there is no power, water, or communication, perhaps for many days or weeks.

Review your insurance policies and gather important papers ready for evacuation. Home owners’ insurance does not cover damage from rising waters but NFIP offers taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance policies. If a named storm is in the area insurance policies will not be issued therefore get prepared well in advance.

Remember that residents of Holmes Beach must obtain a hanging tag for re-entry after evacuation.

How to Survive Hurricane Season on Anna Maria Island

There’s more to surviving hurricane season than knowing how and when to evacuate. Even in summers without any significant hurricanes coming near the island, I have noticed that hurricanes still interfere with life, and cause stress.

We usually are very lucky to get plenty of warning about every major storm of the season. The tracking begins very early, when they still are far from Florida. Although this early warning can save lots of lives, it also wears on the nerves, as we pay attention to every single storm for days and days. There’s usually a storm somewhere, so this means we are looking at storms and worrying about the results for most of the summer. If nothing else, it is distracting and tiring.

From June through October, we tend to obsess about watching tropical updates on the local news channel and on the Weather Channel, at ten minutes before the hour. Then there are all the programs about storm disasters. It’s enough to make you nervous even if no storm comes your way.

Anna Maria Island beach Then, if it looks like a storm might be coming your way, life is interrupted even more. At our house, we begin to pay attention to how many bottles of water we have, and to how much canned and dried food. If the predicted cone-shaped path of the hurricane continues to include Anna Maria Island, we then start organizing our important possessions. We make sure we have enough plywood for the windows. In the years before we had a mainland evacuation destination, we also would look around for motels on the mainland, and often we’d make a reservation just in case we needed it. The problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to know, ahead of time, exactly which nights you might need that reservation. And you might not need it at all. But if you wait, the motels will be full and there is the risk of having nowhere to go.

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