HAW: Disaster Prevention / Forecast Process
10:49 AM EDT - 25 May 2001
Disaster Prevention is today's focus, (we missed the forecast process yesterday)
Hurricanes are one of the more unique types of natural disasters in that they can be predicted (within a few days) and prepared for. Unlike Tornadoes, Earthquakes, etc we have warning, so it is more capable to have better prevention of loss of life and property.
Planning in advance can save you panic and a lot of trouble later. Research a little and discover how your home is vulnerable to hurricane effects such as winds, flooding, and storm surge. If you get stuck in the house when a storm passes over, you'll need a place to hunker down. So identify the best place in your house, without windows or anything that could fall and hurt someone. If you don't have anything that fits that well, then find somewhere else nearby that you can go to, or find a shelter.
Communication is always a problem during large events, the phone system (even cells) will start to feel the load of many people trying to call in and out. Long distance calls will become extremely difficult to make. (Especially anyone trying to call into your area) So plan on a meeting point if everything else fails, and let friends and family know of any plans. Better yet, let someone outside the state know your plans and be a central point for other family members to find out about you. (Instead of having everyone call in and tie up the long distance lines)
Pets are not accepted in normal shelters, so you need to have some sort of plan for them as well, if you do need to evacuate. There are some pet shelters, but these vary.
Check insurance coverage (See our links page or general info page for links to some insurance companies) Stock up with supplies (such as food for a least a week.. non perishable.) and kits now instead of waiting just before the storm when the big rush (and shortages) happen. Learning CPR and taking other classes is also a good idea.
Have tanks filled, enough water for a week, blankets, clothes, medical needs/first aid -- medical emergency service may be disrupted, hygiene items, battery operated weather radios and normal radios, flashlights (batteries and bulbs also), keys, games and toys for kids (and you), important documents, tools, and cash. It will be hot and humid after a large storm strikes, you won't have any electricity, and probably no running water.
(And now for what should have been up yesterday)
The National Hurricane Center (part of the Tropical Prediction Center) is the only official governmental source for Hurricane Advisories. Local hurricane statements are also put out by local National Weather Service offices that help out too. These will appear in the pop up list at the top of the page here. However, under the stress of a large event our page may have difficulties. It is most imperative to know of other links and have an array of sites you can check for advisories when sites start to fail. Have a weather radio too. The opinions here are just that. The National Hurricane Center makes the official decisions on evacuations, warnings, and watches, and suggestions by them should be taken seriously. They have to weigh financial concerns with raising warnings with the potential for loss of life, and I think they do a good job of it. What sites like ours do is provide more opinions and suggestions for possible longer term planning. However, you must use your judgment. Take our site and others like it as guides, but do not rely on it.
The benefit of knowledge and being alert to the systems is what makes doing things like this site worthwhile for us, and when the event happens, please don't be sitting near the computer, instead be out there preparing and helping others. We're ok up to a point, but after that the baton is better passed to local agencies and more traditional media.
Knowledge is power with these storms, and having varied opinions to help guide you along is a good thing in my mind. Start with the official statements, and remember that the folks in the NHC do that for a living, and are under intense pressure to forecast properly since so many lives and businesses are effected even by a passing major system (remember Floyd?). To help learn more about other possibilities and help supplement making decisions there are many varied places on the internet that discuss these storms mostly from an individual perspective. Here are a few of the better ones to add to your favorite bookmarks..
o Gary Gray over at Millennium Weather
discusses the storms and has tracking maps based on his self-developed Trantech
model. Gary has been doing this for several years now and has always
had interesting discussions on the systems.
o Michael Bryson does a good job placing up various maps and discussions when storms are active.
o Mike Anderson's East Coast Tropical Weather Center has an experienced viewpoint to these systems, and is a good place to check for more possibilities.
o Greg Machos at Hurricaneville.puts up a good set of interesting discussions and news.
o Scott's Hurricane Update Center has another varied viewpoint and is another to good one to check out.
o Jim Williams at Hurricane City puts out a discussion weekly, but his main claim to fame is his real audio broadcasts, which are usually excellent.
o Snonut over at Snonut's Hurricane Reports has been issuing discussions for many years now, and has a very good track record with storm forecasts.
o Barometer Bob's Hurricane Hollow issues discussions during the season and is another good viewpoint to check.
o Hurricanewarning.net also issues discussions and news items.
o When a storm approaches the Caribbean islands, the The Caribbean Hurricane Page is the place to check, with updates from across the islands.
o Marc Mailhot's Hurricane Season 2001 also has discussions.
o Robert Lightbown at Crown Weather Services has a great place for excellent storm discussions, and is on my list too.
o Stormwarn 2000 provides more excellent independent discussions, all the way from the UK, Richard Byett does a great job here.
o Accuweather's Joe Bastardi has some entertaining and educational discussions about hurricanes during the season, and is a great place to check as well.
Our site too, does discussions, and we hope you visit us as well. There is a wealth of good information sources for the storms on the internet, and this is just a partial list. If you think we've accidentally left anyone off, leave a comment to this message and let everyone know. It's important to note that none of the above listed sites are "official" in the strict binding sense. The NHC holds that title. However, if you want to know more, it's a good idea to go through all these and more to help form your opinion. But if the NHC says evacuate or prepare, do so.