What can you expect, and are you prepared to deal with it? A hurricane moves ashore with its unrelenting fury. Powerful winds pound the coast, sending a wall of water miles inland.
Bob Goree, a NWS meteorologist, says, "As a hurricane moves inland or toward shore, it forces the wind toward the shore where it piles up and builds up and moves inland as a wave."
Goree says this wall of water is known as the storm surge, and one of the worst places for storm surge in the world is Apalachee Bay.
Goree adds, "That's where the bay is shaped like a cup and water can pile up deep in there. Also, the shallowness of the bay affects the height of the storm surge, so it's a disaster waiting to happen."
Storm surge is a big deal with hurricanes because it's the number-one killer; the more intense the storm, the higher the storm surge. Tornadoes and flooding are also big concerns with a land-falling storm. Now is the time to prepare with a disaster supplies kit.
Chris Floyd, director of the Capital Area Red Cross, says, "Your disaster supplies kit should be portable, something that you can take with you when you evacuate so when you go to a shelter, you have a sleeping bag and some comfort items."
Floyd says you'll also want to include flashlights, food, a can opener, medications, cash and critical documents. If you ride out the storm at home, experts say that you'll need to depend on your neighbors.
Chris Floyd says, "Work within your neighborhood to facilitate a needs assessment. What do you need as a neighborhood? Do you need food? Do you need bottled water? Are the utilities out?"
Report that information to the Red Cross. Only life-threatening calls should be made to 9-1-1. People living within a few miles of the beach may be asked to move inland.
Ben Nelson, State Meteorologist of Florida, says, "This is the time to figure out if you live in a storm surge zone. Those are labeled from tropical storm to category 5, so consult your local emergency management agency to determine if you live in a surge zone. If you live in a surge zone, you may be asked to evacuate."
If you're asked to leave, emergency officials say don't mess around.
Craig Fugate, director of Florida Emergency Management, says, "If you're in that warned area and they tell you to evacuate, then that's what you need to do."
Doing so may well save the life of you and your loved ones.
Hurricanes are said to be unpredictable beasts, but Wednesday, we unveil the best hurricane forecasts in the world, and they're coming right from our area!