HURRICANE

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HURRICANE FORECASTS

Hurricane season 2020 officially begins on June 1 and runs until November 30. Coastal Georgia's forecasts cover the Atlantic Basin—the area encompassing the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.  Every year, several hurricane forecasts are issued from April to August by the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU).  Additional forecasts are put out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), AccuWeather and others. When it comes to hurricanes, there are many indicators related to atmospheric and oceanic conditions that indicate what to expect.  Just remember: It only takes one hurricane making landfall! As coastal residents, we should be prepared for every hurricane - every season.
 
2020 HURRICANE FORECAST
*Below is information from the CSU extended-range forecast on April 2, 2020. 
Above-normal hurricane activity is predicted for the 2020 season.
The main reasons for this stronger-than-usual forecast:
  • Current El Niño climate conditions, which tend to suppress hurricane activity, are predicted to weaken to either a cool neutral El Niño or a weak La Niña during summer or fall. This would likely result in increased storm activity in the Atlantic.
  • In the tropical Atlantic, sea surface temperatures are slightly above normal, which tends to be associated with stronger storms.
Above-normal probability of major hurricanes making landfall is also predicted. 
  • The initial forecast from Colorado State University gives a 69% chance of a major (Category 3 or greater) hurricane making landfall along the entire coast of the continental U.S., a 45% chance along the East Coast and Florida peninsula, a 44% chance along the Gulf Coast, and a 58% chance in the Caribbean. These probabilities are roughly 15% above the averages for the last century. 
 
HOW MANY HURRICANES ARE EXPECTED?
Overall, an above-average number of storms is expected in 2020:
  • CSU predicts 16 named tropical storms (average is 12.1) of which 8 will become hurricanes (average is 6.4). Of the hurricanes that are expected to occur, 4 will turn into major hurricanes (average is 2.7).
  • AccuWeather predicts 14 to 18 tropical storms and 7 to 9 hurricanes, of which 2 to 4 will become major hurricanes.

Tropical Weather Track 

National Hurricane Center - Miami, FL.

Tornadoes

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A Tornado is a violent rotating column of wind speeds that can reach over 200 mph. They are normally formed in thunderstorms. Tornadoes are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly projectiles. Tornadoes can occur at any time of day or night and at any time of the year.  Although tornadoes are most common in the central plains and the southeastern U.S., sometimes refered to as Tornado Alley, they have been reported in all 50 states. 

 

Tornado Watch /Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS)

Tornado Watch:  Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area.  Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!  Watches are issued by the NWS-Charleston for the Fort Stewart-HAAF surrounding areas. 
 
Tornado Warning:  Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by NWS-Charleston and relayed out by local media, Stewart-Hunter emergency alert system, sirens and loudspeakers. 
 
 Be prepared! Don't let Tornadoes Take You by Surprise

Be Weather-Ready:

Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.

Create a Communications Plan:

Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related 'what to do if...' information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a concrete or brick structure.

Pick a safe room in your home:

A safe room can be a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Make your family plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

Practice Your Plan:

Conduct a family severe weather drill regularly, so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know where to go, when tornado warnings are issued. Don't forget your pets.

Prepare Your Home:

Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior space on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website

https://www.ready.gov/shelter

Hunter

Lightning

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Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge between two opposed electrically charged regions of atmosphere or ground that temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as a gigajoule of energy.  A gigajoule is equal to one billion joules. That enough energy to make a navy aircraft carrier pass an F-15 in flight on afterburner!  

 

Lightning Safety

The best way for you to protect yourself from lightning is to avoid it. You simply don’t want to be caught outside in a thunderstorm.  Have a plan and cancel or postpone outdoor activities early, if thunderstorms are expected.  Watch the weather conditions and get inside before the weather becomes threatening.  Houses, public buildings and hard-topped vehicles are safe options.  Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not safe. When inside, do not touch anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet, plumbing, and corded phones. Cell phones and cordless phones are okay, but keep away from outside doors and windows and do not lie on a garage floor.
 

Lightning Threat

The probability of someone being struck by lightning depends on their behavior when thunderstorms are present. People are struck by lightning because they don't think there is a danger or they have plenty of time to react. The threat of lightning increases as a thunderstorm approaches, reaches a peak when the storm is overhead, and then gradually diminishes as the storm moves away. It’s people’s behavior that determines the risk of a fatal lightning strike. While some people move inside at the first signs of a thunderstorm, many people wait too long to get to a safe place. Some wait until the thunderstorm is overhead and it starts to rain. Others are caught outside and can’t get to a safe place. Although most people get inside, some put themselves at risk by touching items that could become electrified by a nearby lightning strike. As the storm passes, people go outside too soon, sometimes only waiting for the rain to become lighter or end. It is all of these unsafe behaviors that put people at risk when thunderstorms are in the area.  If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” 
 

Minimizing Lightning Risk

To minimize your personal risks of being struck by lightning when going outside, plan ahead, so that you can get to a safe place quickly, if a thunderstorm threatens. If the sky looks threatening or if you hear thunder, get inside a safe place immediately. Once inside, avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, windows and doors. Finally, wait 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or thunder before going back outside. If everyone followed these simple rules, the number of lightning casualties in this country could be greatly reduced. 
 

Lightning Strike Victims

If someone is struck by lightning, they need immediate medical attention. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to touch. Call 911 and monitor the victim. Start CPR or use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if needed. Treat for shock if necessary.
 
https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning
 

Flooding

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Floods / Flash floods/ Coastal flooding
Heavy rainfall can cause localized flooding in low lying areas and can occur during any season, if heavy rainfall occurs. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” is a warning from the National Weather Service (NWS) to not walk, wade or drive thru standing water.
 

  Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield 

Here in the Coastal Georgia area, coastal floods are caused by extreme sea level, which arise as combinations of four main factors: waves, astronomical tides, storm surges and relative mean sea level. The additional influence of river discharge may also be important in some estuaries.  A storm surge is a short-lived, large-scale rise in water level driven by low atmospheric pressure and strong winds associated with tropical and sub-tropical storms and enhanced locally by coastal topography. The worst coastal flooding occurs when the peak storm surge coincides with high Spring tide. Local or remote storms produce large wind or swell waves, which can overtop coastal defenses/beaches and cause flooding and erosion.  When a local watch is issued by the NWS in Charlieston, SC, you should begin to gather more information about the situation and determine what actions you will need to take.  
 
Take action when a watch, warning and advisory are issued:

Flash Flood Watch

A Flash Flood Watch is issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flash flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flash flooding.

Flood Watch

A Flood Watch is issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flooding. In situations where a river or stream is expected to be the main source of the flooding, forecast confidence may allow for a Flood Watch to be issued several days in advance.

Flash Flood Warning

A Flash Flood Warning is issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Flash Flood Warnings are urgent messages as dangerous flooding can develop very rapidly with a serious threat to life and/or property. Flash Flood Warnings are usually issued minutes to hours in advance of the onset of flooding.

Flood Warning

A Flood Warning is issued to inform the public of flooding that poses a serious threat to life and/or property. A Flood Warning may be issued hours to days in advance of the onset of flooding based on foretasted conditions. Floods occurring along a river usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.

Flood Advisory

A Flood Advisory is issued when a flood event warrants notification but is less urgent than a warning. Advisories are issued for conditions that could cause a significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Coastal/Lake shore Hazard Message

Coastal/Lake shore Hazard Message provide the public with detailed information on significant coastal/lake shore events. Coastal/Lake shore events impact land-based and near shore interests along much of the United States coastline. This product can be issued as a watch, warning or advisory and follows the same "Be Aware, Be Prepared, Take Action" definitions as with other National Weather Service (NWS) Watches, Warnings and Advisories (WWA). A Watch is issued when flooding with significant impacts is possible. Warnings are issued when flooding posing a serious threat to life and property is occurring, imminent or highly likely.

Special Weather Statement

Special Weather Statements provide the public with information concerning ongoing or imminent weather hazards, which require a heightened level of awareness or action, but do not rise to the level of watch, warning or advisory.

 
"Be Aware" when these products are issued:

–Hydrologic Outlook

Two types:

1. Short-term (1 to 7 days) Hydrologic Outlooks can be issued to alert thepublic of the potential for flooding in the near-term such as when heavyrainfall is forecast that could result in flooding or aggravate an existingflood if it occurs.

2. Long-term (weeks to months) Hydrologic Outlooks may also provide river orreservoir level and/or flow information. This information could be used forwater supply concerns or projection of snowmelt flooding.

–Hazardous Weather Outlook

TheHazardous Weather Outlook is a single source of information regarding expectedhazardous weather through seven days. It can include information on severestorms, heavy rain, flooding, tropical storms, winter weather, high winds, fireweather and marine hazards.

Information Source

  • Nation Weather Services (NWS) Charleston, SC.

-http://www.dot.ga.gov/DS/Emergency/Hurricane

First thing's first...where can you get real-time information?

The answer? Two places.

Follow the FS/HAAF FACEBOOK PAGE for information specific to post. For all other information, go GEMA.GA.GOV

Also stay updated with tools and resources at the following links.

GEORGIA POWER

COASTAL EMC

CANOOCHEE EMC

Phone Numbers

FS/HAAF Information Hotline: 866-586-3116

You're going to want this phone list on your fridge! Here's all the numbers you'll need during a storm.

Phone list

Weather is unpredictable. Here's some tools to make your life easier.