Storming the Beach
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Here is a saying here on the island. “If you don’t like the weather, wait fifteen minutes and it will probably change.” Amelia Island will see her fair share of scorcher afternoons and evening showers every year. As of June 1st, there will be a new player in this year’s forecast. Hurricane season shall begin. Given our location, we are fortunate enough to have most storms miss us on their way back out to sea. However, every once in a while we will get hit hard. You can just about bet on a power outage for the entire island when a hurricane finds land here. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that we are educated in the threats we deal with.
Spanning from June 1st through November 30th, the period is derived from the time frame of the year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Basin and are adopted conventionally. Now, we can’t count solely on this time frame in regards to preparation. Every once in a while, pre-season cyclones developed like with Beryl (2012) and Ana (2003). Ana was the second earliest in history to be recorded. While there are weather detection laboratories nationwide, Colorado State University is pretty much the Hurricane study central hub. It is here where renowned hurricane experts like Phillip Klotz Bach and William Gray assess each season’s possibilities with their university colleagues. Separately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also analyze all angles of the monstrous cyclones. A few years ago, Klotz Bach and his team did a study to find the average number of events that could be expected using records from 1981-2010. They found that an average of 12.1 tropical storms, 6.4 hurricanes, and 2.7 major hurricanes (cat 3 or cat 4) can be expected annually.
So, knowing the chances of encountering a hurricane on the East Coast, how can we assess and prepare for the eminent storms. Hurricanes carry with them many hazardous situations. As a storm moves across the open ocean, it pushes the water in front of it. This creates a surge that pushes the seawater onto land. The high winds and tornadoes can send debris hurling through the air, and the rip currents that manifest can be fatally strong in more cases than not. There are some steps and procedures we can follow to minimalize risk.
- Your family needs to be educated and prepared. At least one family member should be certified in basic first aid. Local entities like fire departments and the police will often teach these classes.
- Have an evacuation plan complete with travel route and meeting location in case of separation. Researching where the nearest shelters to your residence are is paramount.
- Have an emergency contact that is outside of the area affected by the hurricane. Have this person be in the know regarding all phone numbers needed to put you and your family in touch (schools/work/doctors/etc.).
- If you keep pets, you need to have an emergence kit prepared for them. Also, some shelters may not allow pets. Call your local shelters to find out their specific rules before setting your evacuation plan.
- Safeguard your home! Trees on your property should be kept manicured. Clogged up gutters can lead to serious damage. Clean them along with clearing any loose roofing materials, such as shingles. Hurricane shutters are a great addition to any coastal home. They look great and serve as a very important protection against high winds and debris.
Now that you have some information on what to expect and how to stay ahead of the storm, you may enjoy your summer knowing you are prepared! There are many different informative sites on hurricane preparedness for any given region. I highly encourage you to seek out additional information and share it with friends and family. Until next time….
Stay salty friends!
This is not only the beginning of Hurricane season but also the time of the year we experience the most spectacular sunsets. Join us on the next sunset tour. <learn more…>