Mon Jun 01 2009 12:00 AM
2009 Hurricane Season Starts Today

Original, June 1st Update
Today is the first day of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season. We have had one depression form before the start, but that is no indicator of the rest of the season. There are signs that an El Nino event is arriving, and if so it tends to reduce overall hurricane activity. However, it only takes one strong storm to ruin your day, and they can occur even in otherwise slow years. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 is a great example of that.

This year flhurricane is gearing up to watch another year, and gradually improving the site, we are still working on new features for this year, and you will see them start to pop up as time goes on. We appreciate all the site donators as well, it still is an expensive site to run and maintain and we carry a extreme load of traffic during storm events, mostly for people checking in on the hurricane data and information we provide. If you like the site and want to help see it continue, check out our donations page.

If a major hurricane approaches an area in the United states we will have pages geared to that, including streaming media for that area (like with the Hurricane Ike coverage wall last year). Recorded animations of webcams, radars, and more as storm approaches, real time updated hurricane data, plots, maps, coordinates, and more. Directed discussions, and more interactivity.

The focus this year is to try to show the most relevant information at the time, which is a difficult job, and keep it easy. (You may have noticed the highly interactive site with advisories and radars and other mouse over tooltips for all sorts of things, to attempt the relevant information at hand.) And try to keep misinformation and hype to a minimum. Despite this, some areas will see not much from storms, while others may see a great deal. There is an active wiki attached to the site for the links, general info, and is open for new pages. Feel free to log in and update things there.

This year's storm names are {{StormNames2009CSV}}. One depression has already formed this year, but no named systems have occurred yet. June is usually a quiet month. Mid August through mid to late September is the usual peak of the season.

Here are some preparedness tips that you can think about now:

Note one major difference this year with preparedness is the digital TV transition which will break most older battery operated televisions. Although there are a few battery operated TVs that now have digital capability all reports so far indicate that they are rather poor quality wise and more expensive (~$30 vs $150) (relative to standard battery operated TVs)

Proper hurricane preparation can make the difference between a minor aggravation and a major catastrophe. Since June first is the start of hurricane season, there is no better time than the present to stock up on supplies. Click here for essentials that should be included on your checklist:

Emergency numbers
Insurance policy paperwork
Lumber and nails for boarding up windows
A week’s supply or water (generally 2 quarts to 1 gallon per person per day)
Cooler/Ice chest
Beverages (powered, canned or instant)
Prepared canned goods (soup, vegetables, fruit, Vienna sausages)
Snack foods such as nuts, chips, crackers and cookies
Spreads such as peanut butter and jelly
Dried fruits and raw vegetables
Dry and canned pet food
Baby food and formula
Manual can opener
Bottle opener
Pocket knife
Napkins and paper plates
Plastic cups and plastic silverware
Extra batteries
Flashlights and bulbs
Battery operated TV or radio
Wind up or battery powered clock
Garbage bags
Toilet paper
A few changes of clothes and sturdy shoes
Extra pair of contacts and contact solution

If you live within seventy-five miles of the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, you need to have a hurricane plan. The main things you will need to decide on once notified of a hurricane threat are when you’re going to evacuate, how you’re going to take care of yourself and your family during and after the storm and how you’re going to protect your house and personal belongings.

Communication is Key

• Choose at least one friend or family member located out of town to be the emergency contact. Make sure every member of the family has a piece of paper with that person’s contact information and knows to call him or her if they get lost or anything bad happens. Call the designated contact before the weather turns ugly and tell that person your hurricane plan.
• Make sure everyone has important numbers and e-mail addresses programmed into their cell phones and knows how to send text messages and e-mails from their cell phones. (Keep in mind if the storm is strong enough there may be damage to phone towers and phone service may become temporarily unavailable.)

Should you stay or should you go? What to know when trying to decide whether to evacuate.

First, you will need to know if you live in an evacuation zone. To find out, you’re your emergency management office, check the emergency management office website or call your city hall. There are three ways it could go: You will either be able to make the decision yourself whether to evacuate, you will almost always be ordered to evacuate for a hurricane approaching from the water and possibly other directions or you will only be ordered to evacuate for strong storms approaching from the water and not from other directions.

It is strongly advised to leave your home if there is any chance a storm surge could reach it. Storm surges are deadly and not something to take a chance with. Seek an inland shelter or stay with family inland and away from the storm’s path. (You may want to include…) The following problems can result from storm surges:

• Cars left at street level or a lower level or a parking garage will more than likely be ruined
• Streets will be flooded and sand and debris may block passage for emergency vehicles
• It is very likely that the power, water and phone service will be out
• The causeway or access road to the mainland may be temporarily cut off.
• The government may not be able to provide security.
• You may be stuck and on your own in an unpleasant environment for an extended period of time before assistance arrives.

Thanks for checking our site, and let us know any suggestions, problems, or questions in the site forum. You can check the forecast lounge for making guesses about how the year will play out, and add a comment to this article here to let all of us know how prepared (or not) you are for the season.

As we start this season, there is nothing worth noting in the tropics. You can check Jim Williams at Hurricane City for his season kickoff show at 8PM EDT tonight.

As usual, take the word of the National Hurricane Center above any other web site on Hurricanes , including here. We have several mets that work with the site including Ed Dunham and Clark Evans, but we are not official!

As for other sites, there are some really good ones, see the bottom of the main page! My favorites include Mark Sudduth and Mike Watkins at hurricanetrack, Jim Williams at Hurricane City, and Jeff Masters at weather underground. But there is so much more too! I recommend getting informed through a variety of sources, but always treat the word of the National Hurricane Center above all others. When an event comes close to your area local media and government is the best bet for your particular area.

Note: This is NOT an official page. It is run by weather hobbyists and should not be used as a replacement for official sources. 
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