• Buresh Blog: Florence & its nuances... Before, During & After the storm

    By: Michael Buresh

    Updated:

    Sept. 13, 2018 - Daily updates: "Talking the Tropics With Mike"....

    The week has been dominated by hurricane Florence.  By Thursday, the tropical cyclone had been named 13 days which tied the longest lasting named storm from last year - "Irma".  Florence went through a number of interesting structural changes on its way to the Carolina's.  The storm is likely to be most remembered - & could go down in the history books - for its storm surge & especially torrential rain.

    We saw at least two eyewall replacement cycles.  This occurs when mature, strong hurricanes have an outer wall develop which cuts off the updrafts & moisture supply from the original (inner) eye.  The hurricane weakens during this process until the replacement cycle is completed.  Then - if all other conditions are favorable - the hurricane may again intensify.

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    Lucky for Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga.... we were on the subsident or dry side of Florence.  The atmosphere has to compensate for the massive updrafts in & near a hurricane, so that balance is massive sinking (descending) air on the far fringe of a hurricane.  The result is sunny, breezy, dry weather.

    Proximity & location in relation to the eye of a hurricane makes a world of difference.  Fri., Sept. 14th in Jacksonville, NC vs. Jacksonville, FL:

    What a forecast from the National Hurricane Center!  Below.... the image on the left is the landfall forecast from Sun., 09/09 for Fri. .... the image on the right is 7:15am Fri., 09/14 - the actual landfall.  Plenty of time for preps & evacuations.  Admittedly intensity was off (forecast was Cat. 3/4) - which is the toughest nut to crack in the forecast/research world - but the message was out way in advance of an historic storm - at least from a water standpoint.

    From the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF):

    Sarah Blount - Before / During / After the Storm:

    Hurricane Florence is hitting the U.S. Evacuations have been ordered in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, as the Mid-Atlantic hurries to prepare for the storm's devastating impact. Of course, the US is no stranger to these deadly storms—last year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria left thousands of people dead in their wake, and many more were faced with injuries, damaged and flooded homes and vehicles, and a lack of cell service and electricity.

    In the days surrounding one of these storms, there are important steps that people in affected areas need to take to help protect themselves and their families—that includes before, during, and after the storm. Read on for safety instructions at each step of the storm’s timeline. More information can be found here.

    Before

    During

    • After you know the storm is coming, but before the storm hits, secure your home. Cover all of the windows with storm shutters.

    • Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office to get the latest information on the storm and learn how you should respond.

    • Follow the instructions of emergency officials, and leave if ordered to.

    • If you are not ordered to evacuate, take steps to shelter in place. Here is guidance from the National Weather Service on how to shelter in place from a hurricane, and here is more detailed instruction from Ready.gov (at the bottom of the page). Don’t forget—if the eyewall of the hurricane passes over you, the following period of calm is not safe to emerge. The other eyewall is coming.

    After

    Just because the storm has passed doesn’t mean that the danger is over. Read on for safety instructions for returning to a damaged or flooded home and neighborhood.

    • Only return home when the proper authorities have given the all-clear.

    • When walking or driving around your neighborhood, be on the lookout for places where the roads or walkways may have been eroded by floodwaters, or blocked by debris.

    • Do not walk or stand in standing water, as it may be electrically charged from nearby downed power lines. If you see any of these downed power lines, contact the power company's emergency number.

    • If possible, turn off electricity at the main breaker or the fuse box before entering your home. Contact your local power company or a qualified electrician to help if you are unfamiliar with this process. 

    • Photograph all damage to your property for insurance purposes before you begin your repairs. If it’s possible to take precautions to prevent further damage (i.e. placing a tarp over a damaged roof) try to do that as soon as possible, as your insurance may not cover damages that occur after the storm.

    • If you are using a generator or other gasoline-powered machine at your home, DO NOT allow it to run inside of the building, including your garage. This equipment can generate carbon monoxide, which is deadly. Use this equipment outside, and far away from any windows. 

    For a more complete list of how to protect yourself, your home, and your family after a flood, please refer to pages 10-11 of this resource from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    Unfortunately, there are those who take the opportunity immediately after a storm to try and prey on the confusion and vulnerability of affected communities. To learn more about scams to be on the lookout for immediately after a storm, please refer to FEMA’s Rumor Control website.

    Sources:

    I have to share this with you!  The photo below is from 30 years ago & was shown during the past week on WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa - that's yours truly on the far left.  Next to me is Ed Wilson who is celebrating his 30 year on the air in Des Moines.  Good memories! :)

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