Miami International Airport set a record high temperature for the date both yesterday and today. Yesterday’s high of 97 degrees Fahrenheit beat the previous record for June 14th of 96 set in 1998. Today’s high of 96 degrees Fahrenheit broke the old record of 94 set in 2010, 2009 and 1998 for this date. That is interesting, but I don’t get too excited about record highs for a few days at a single location. I am paying closer attention to the sea surface temperatures over the tropics.
One necessary (but not sufficient) condition for tropical cyclone development is water temperature of at least 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius).
Atlantic Basin Sea Surface Temperatures
The figure above shows 80+ degree water in orange and red already covering most of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic. At the present time, the upper-level conditions over much of the tropics are not conducive for tropical cyclone development (too much shear). But it is just a matter of time before we start seeing some activity.
Let’s enjoy this quite spell with no tropical cyclones in the Atlantic but also take a little time to make sure that our hurricane plans are ready to go for when the tropics do get active.
As WPLG-TV’s Hurricane Specialist, I often write blogs on hurricane preparedness. Today, the tropics are quite and I don’t see anything on the horizon that could result in a tropical storm during the next few days. Given that Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday, I thought about some of the great gifts that my kids have given me over the years that went into my hurricane supply kit. You might get some good gift ideas for Dad from our Hurricane Survival Guide’s Supply Kit Checklist.
Some of my favorite items include battery or solar powered lanterns, battery powered NOAA Weather Radio that also can be hand-cranked if the power remains out for extended periods and you run out of batteries, car charger for mobile phone, hand-crank flashlights (some even come with a built-in radio), carbon-monoxide detectors, and battery operated digital TV with car charger adapter. You might even bundle some of these and other items together in an ice chest/cooler. Dad will thank you during the next hurricane threat.
Hurricane Supply Kit Checklist for the Home
So if you need gift ideas for Dad on this Father’s Day, one suggestion is to take your hurricane supply kit checklist with you and head to a home supply store. Local 10’s entire 2011 Hurricane Survival Guide with a Supply Kit Checklist can be found on www.Local10.com and http://www.JustWeather.com.
Strong upper-level winds are expected to inhibit any significant tropical cyclone development of the disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms currently in the vicinity of the Bahamas and eastern Cuba. It is hurricane season, however, and the tropical storms and hurricanes are sure to eventually develop in the Atlantic basin.
Preparedness is important. If you haven’t developed your hurricane plan, this is still a good time to do so. And if you already have a plan, this is a good time to review it.
Local 10"s Hurricane Survival Guide
One of the best ways to prepare, in my opinion, is to check out Local 10’s 2011 Hurricane Survival Guide at http://www.local10.com/hurricane2011/index.html
. It includes checklists for your Hurricane Family Plan, Hurricane Supply Kit and First Aid Kit, evacuation zone maps for Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Definitions, Pet Plans, links for Emergency Transportation and Shelters, and facts on Flood Safety, Generator Safety and Maintenance, as well as what to do after the storm.
Over the years, I have talked with a lot of people who have experienced hurricanes. One thing that really stands out to me is that people who had a hurricane plan almost always do better than those who did not have a plan.
Saturday June 11 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, the Miami Science Museum is sponsoring the second annual Feel the Force: Hurricanes and Other Hazards. This is a FREE event and would be a great place for a family to spend some time together.
Creative and challenging activities are designed to raise awareness of the many hazards South Floridians face and educate residents on how to best prepare for emergencies of all types. Miami-Dade County Emergency Management Director Curt Sommerhoff and I will be speaking on hurricane preparedness at 11:00 am, followed by several other speakers and hands-on exhibits. The event is sponsored by FIU’s International Research Center, Florida’s State Emergency Response Team, and Miami-Dade County Emergency Management.
A few pictures (provided from FIU’s Erik Salna) from last year’s Feel the Force event are below. Click on thumbnails to expand images.
- House built by kids (2010)
mini Wall of Wind testing for kids (2010)
Kids practiced being a TV Weathercaster in the Hurricane Broadcast Center (2010)
Air Cannon shoots 2x4 into hurricane shutters (2010)
Drs. Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray updated their Atlantic Basin Seasonal Hurricane Outlook today, and are still calling for above-average activity.
- 2011 Atlantic Seasonal Outlooks
Klotzbach and Gray are forecasting 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes. These numbers are consistent with their April forecast and fall within the large ranges given in the NOAA seasonal outlook from a couple of weeks ago.
It is important to note that these numbers, while interesting, don’t say anything about where or when the storms or hurricanes will be. Last year these seasonal forecasters were calling for well-above average activity and that is exactly what we got. They should be congratulated for those forecasts. The 19 named storms from last year tied for the third largest number of named storms on record. And the 12 hurricanes from last year tied for the second largest number of hurricanes on record. But not a single hurricane made landfall in the United States.
Hopefully, we have learned that it is not all about the numbers. 1992 was a year with only six tropical storms of which four became hurricanes. That was a below-average year number-wise. But South Florida will always remember that year for Hurricane Andrew. Don’t let the seasonal outlooks have any connection to your preparedness activities. If you are lucky enough to live in South Florida, you need to be prepared no matter what numbers are in the seasonal outlooks. It just takes that one hurricane over your community to make for a bad year.
Today is the last day of National Hurricane Preparedness Week. It is also the last day of Florida Hurricane Preparedness Week. The main goal of this week has been to urge individuals to take personal responsibility for their family’s hurricane preparedness.
During this past week, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, along with Federal, local, and private-sector partners, conducted simulated emergency response efforts and helped manage its yearly hurricane exercise. The State Emergency Response Team tested its capability to conduct operations at a secondary site in case the Tallahassee Emergency Operations Center ever becomes inoperable due to a disaster. Exercise participants traveled to the state’s alternate emergency coordination facility at Camp Blanding, FL to manage the simulated hurricane exercise.
Florida officials are taking hurricane preparedness seriously. But this will be in vain unless individuals prepare as well. A lot of us will go to home improvement stores to pick up needed items for this long Memorial Day weekend. I encourage you to also take your hurricane supply list with you and add any missing items to your supply kit.