Tracking the Tropics: Your complete guide to preparing for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season
Tracking the Tropics: Surviving the Season is your complete guide to preparing for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season during a pandemic.
three deadly hurricanes in four years feed on the flow. It was up to my ankle. You're getting white cap action at about 12 12 feet. Here, you're getting about 10.6 and one. Matthew and Florida brought torrential rain, leaving homes and interstates underwater. Dorian cut off a part of the North Carolina coast from the rest of the world. This has never happened before. All these houses have been destroyed, lessons learned and how they will help us all face a challenge like never before preparing during a pandemic. Staying in a shelter will not be a good option. Tracking the Tropics Surviving this season with the ongoing threat of the Corona virus and continued efforts to flatten the curve, this hurricane season presents a new challenge for all of us. Hello and thank you for joining us for tracking the tropics. Surviving the season. I'm Lena to let this season is already shaping up to be a very busy one. We've already passed the record for named storms this early in the season, from socially distancing and shelters to revamping your storm kits. Preparing for a natural disaster during a pandemic looks a lot different. This half hour will show you how state emergency leaders plan to balance the challenge of keeping you safe from the storm and Corona virus. There's also a new evacuation system in place. This year, you will hear a lot about knowing your zone. We'll explain what that means for those who own property, live or vacation in the eastern part of the state. And we take you back to one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence, still recovering nearly two years after its landfall. How this community is moving forward and why the story line there is so important for those who think they're safe just because they're inland, whether you were affected by them or not. Storms that hit North Carolina over the past five years earned their place in the history books. They should serve as a lesson for all of us as we look forward to a new season. Two of North Carolina's biggest hurricanes in the last five years, or best known for their catastrophic rainfall which produce widespread, devastating flooding to the state. Both were slow movers, which helped generate record rainfall, and in the case of Florence, the steering currents simply collapsed with a storm hardly moving at times. And last year the storm to watch was Dorian do We made Lancelot Cape Hatteras as a Category one. Hurricane Matthew came into North Carolina and early October of 2016. It generated double digit and weaker wind shear. We are already ahead of the 2005 hurricane season and the number of storms seen this early in the season. That season produced 2028 named storms, with Katrina, Rita and Wilma striking the U. S Tropical Storm Arthur was the first of the season. It came two weeks before the official start of hurricane season. The system developed in South Florida and moved over the Atlantic before bringing several inches of rain to the Outer Banks. Tropical Storm Fay formed off the Carolina coast in July, stirring up rip currents off our shore before making landfall in New Jersey. Tropical Storm Crystal Ball made headlines in early June ahead of a landfall along the Gulf Coast. It prompted conversations about preparing for a natural disaster during a pandemic from shelters to evacuees. Toe what's in your emergency kit This year? Our storm preparations will look a lot different, Amanda Lamb shows us the changes you can expect during Hurricane Florence, a shelter here in Southeast Raleigh High School House. 450 people. But due to new rules because of the Corona virus, every shelter resident must have 115 square feet. That's about a parking space and 1/2. When Hurricane Florence targeted Wilmington in September of 2018 and Taylor knew she had to get out wre l spoke with her at a shelter at Southeast Raleigh High School. Just like they said, the Titanic was safe. Unsinkable. Look what happened. But if a hurricane comes her way this year, Taylor is making other plans because you would not go to a shelter now. No, not not at all, because then you have to worry about call of it normally a gymnasium where you could, you know, pack a lot of people in. Now you have to have in space. North Carolina's emergency management director, Michael Spray Berry, says the state is working on a plan on how to a handle emergency sheltering in light of the pandemic. He says it won't be easy. We've been in contact with a number of hotel chains and we have access to over 30,000 rooms will be lessening the number of people in a particular shelter to the best extent possible. But the most important part is people have to get out of the storm. They have to be safe. The American Red Cross housed 22,000 people in 122 emergency shelters before, during and after Florence. Due to the pandemic, they will not only have less space but will offer fewer. Resource is so there is less sharing. They're asking people to bring everything they need from food to betting. But we don't have to have cause we don't have to have blankets. It'll be a different environment so that we're keeping people safe. For Taylor, being safe means not going to a shelter this time. I never have enough time. I would have one of my daughters come from up north and come down here and get me. If not, I'll just have to write it out in this apartment. So the take away from state officials is make a plan not to go to a shelter during a hurricane Goto a hotel or a family or friends house Amanda Lamb, WRL News Raleigh No matter where you end up riding out a storm, you could still see flooding. That's why it's important to familiarize yourself with the area ahead of time. Flooding is the second leading cause of fatalities from land falling tropical systems. Torrential rain from tropical cyclones can cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. That can last for several days, and in recent years, North Carolina has been hit hard by inland flooding, most notably during Hurricane Florence. 17 people died due to inland flooding during Florence, and flooding cost billions of dollars in damage. To help North Carolinians determine the risk of flooding in their own home. The flood inundation, mapping and alert network, or Feinman, was created here. You can let the Web page use your address or type in your address in the upper right hand corner to determine the risk of flooding in your area. This website shows real time data on all stream water levels nearby, and when flooding is forecast, the map will indicate which areas could flood in blue down to your street. Goto wrl dot com and search Hurricane for the link to this tool right at the top of the hurricane page. Let's take a closer look at the newly formed to know your zone program and how it affects you and your family no matter where you live. The classification is meant to simplify the evacuation process for local officials, residents and visitors. Some counties have Onley one's own. Others can have up to five Zone A in red here zone be an orange zone C in Purple Zone D and green and zone E in light blue. These are areas most at risk for storm surge and flooding zone A will typically be the first evacuated, followed by B and all the way down to E. This is important for visitors and locals to know we're going to show you a few examples of how much zones convey vary in particular regions. Let's begin with Dare County on the Outer Banks. You can see it split into Zone A and Zone B Zone A runs along Highway 12 from Hatteras Island. A past Rodin fee. When you get into Manti Oh, and north of Nags Head and back across the sound, you can see Zone B. Now let's take you down to Onslow County, where We have all five zone classifications in one county, you can see zone A along the coasts at North Topsail Zone A also goes as far inland as Jacksonville with B, C, D and E. In between, New Bern saw some of the most severe flooding during Hurricane Florence. The historic Craven County community is a meeting point for the trend, and news rivers both feed directly into the Pamlico Sound. Making for the Perfect storm. Cullen Browder shows us how Hurricane Florence forever changed one of North Carolina's most scenic communities. The bright sunshine and blue skies mask a long, tough recovery for this picturesque North Carolina River city. Neubert took one of Florence, is first and hardest, hits record flooding, pushed boats inland and swallowed nearly 800 businesses and homes. Tell me how difficult it's been to. I was following to lose everything you hang. It was. It's been 22 months in storm waters, invaded, lowest, can't Lowe's home of more than 40 years and put my feet on the flow. It was up to my ankle. Home was a total loss, so the can't lose had to rebuild higher and stronger. It took FEMA grants loans and their retirement to start over because they dropped flood insurance the year before, after 43 years of living here, Hi, I got called, and suddenly it was a lesson learned here you were getting about 10.6 feet and long mere Dana Outlaw says. New Bern battle toe lift Its economy, an effort now slowed by Cove in some homes, are still abandoned. Others reflect how florets forever altered the future. Here, the Hurricane Flores is is totally going. Impact our protector. New designs for future construction. So here's what the mayor is talking about. Homes that had less than 50% value damage will not have to elevate. But all other properties that had more than 50% damage will have to do this elevate to a least 11 6 In addition to building higher, newborn will use federal grants to overhaul the community's antiquated drainage system and more. What's the biggest lesson learned here from Florence? The cell towers generators that were running because they didn't have power ran out a diesel fuel, and so we were without communication. The mayor says his city continues working together to move past Ford's. This can traumatize a community. It can also strengthen result when your home was destroyed. Did you ever consider giving up? No, no, Never consumed. Given because this is your home. This is Cullen Browder WRL News. NEWBURGH Hurricane Lorenzo might not ring a bell to you, but it's blamed for at least four deaths in the Carolinas in 2019. And it remained thousands of miles off our shore and recovering from the 12 punch on the Carolina coast. First Dorian than the economic blow from the Corona virus. How to very different threats led to a common approach in getting back to business. 2019. Hurricane season will forever be linked to Hurricane Dori in the storm reached Category five strength, making it the most powerful tropical system on record to strike the Bahamas, where it's stalled for days before tracking parallel to the East Coast and clipping the Outer Banks. Several tornadoes touched down in eastern North Carolina, including an E F two tornado, an Emerald Isle where homes and campers were destroyed. The other Dorian headline in North Carolina quickly shifted to the storm surge flooding on Ocracoke Island, where crews had to rescue people trapped in their homes. The damage forced the island to shut down to visitors for months. The reopening stalled even further with Kobe 19. Well, people typically go far away from the coast leading up to during and after storms. It's proven to be a destination for those looking for a change of scenery, which still allows for social distancing. June brought nearly 400,000 visitors to Cape Hatteras, a number they haven't seen in June since 2002. Hard to tell from here, but those stripes are actually 22 feet high. When you're the superintendent of the breathtakingly beautiful Cape Hatteras National Seashore, your main goal is keeping the parks open with the Outer Banks. Is unpredictable weather that's hard enough. Add in a pandemic. You think it would be nearly impossible? Not so, says David Halik. If things stay on track, we're likely tohave either record visitation year or a year. That is certainly up there in terms of high numbers of visits. At 70 Miles, Park is the longest stretch of undeveloped beach in the eastern US, making it an ideal place to get fresh air and socially distance. We're asking for folks to wear masks, which that strongly recommended to wait six feet apart when they're in line or at a visitor attraction and wash their hands. And we're finding that the large majority visitors air doing that beyond the parks, private businesses are doing well to the outer Banks are very resilient. Trip Foreman and owner of Riel Water Sports, a store and kite surfing haven, believes it's the lessons learned in past weather events that help them during the pandemic, where visitors aren't allowed to come on until the island or into the county. Once that announcement gets made, you know, they're they're lined up in there and they're ready to come back. So it was, you know, basically 100% rebound from day one. Halik and Foreman agree the way tourism has shifted from Flight two. Car travel brings added benefits. Over half the population of the United States can drive to the Outer Banks in a day, and the things that have attracted people here for decades well, that hasn't changed. The beaches are open, their beautiful. The water is warm, and when it comes to enjoy and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the vision should be very similar. Now, This area is not immune to Cove in 19 we are seeing an increase in the number of cases for both residents and non residents. But people in the area taking this very seriously, they know their economy hinges on the health and happiness of visitors in Dare County. Keeley Arthur, WRL News. Don't let the sun and ideal beach conditions fool you with picture perfect scenes like this. It can be easy to underestimate the true power of a tropical system, even if it remains hundreds of miles. Offshore tropical systems can cause rip currents, which are so dangerous that lifeguards often refer to them as drowning. Rip currents are strong, narrow currents flowing outward from the beach through the surf zone, there, typically about 30 feet wide and most dangerous during low tide. Sometimes the most dangerous rip currents occur when the weather is good. Large swells produced by storms that are well offshore can create conditions that cause rip currents. For example, back in 2019 when Hurricane Lorenzo was over 2000 miles away from the U. S, we have son shot with temperatures in the eighties. It was great beach weather, but Lorenzo generated large ocean swells stretching from Florida to New Jersey. There were seven drownings, four in the Carolinas, including to a Curie beach. So we still have to pay attention to tropical systems, even when they're thousands of miles away. Less talk stats. Rip currents contribute to 80% of surf rescues in the Carolinas. Here in North Carolina, we average 10 rip current deaths every year since 2011. Half of the people who drowned were bystanders trying to help someone else caught in a rip current and 84% of deaths were vacationers. So what can you do to stay safe? Check the rip current conditions before you head to the beach, swimming reached with lifeguards and watch for the warning flags never tried out. Swim a rip current float on your back or swim parallel to the shore. And we're safely out of the rip current call for help if you see someone in trouble and remember, Rip currents could be out there even if there's no tropical system in sight. As Florence and Matthew showed us in recent seasons, it doesn't matter where you live. In North Carolina, tropical systems can and do present a threat for all of us the three things you can do now to make the recovery a lot less stressful. Next, whether it destroyed, flooded or just damaged their home. Anyone who's been to a hurricane learn lessons from it. Five. Undersides Monica Liberty shares. Three things we all need to know to make the process a lot less stressful. Of course, we all know we need supplies, right, because nobody wants to stand in line at a store after a storm. So get things like food, water, batteries. But here's what else you need to tackle here in North Carolina. We know hurricanes can be devastating. The damage loss, work and cost to rebuild. Whether you own or rent insurance plays a critical role. Make sure you have the coverage you may need. First, reevaluate your policy. When was the last time you checked coverage limits on your home and belongings? Maybe you've remodeled or purchase new electron ICS or furniture. Will your policy cover repairs and replacement? Next, pull out your phone and document your belongings. Take pictures and video of almost everything you have from appliances and dishes to towels and clothes. Go room by room and go slowly. Make sure that you can actually see the things you have should you need to file a claim. Last. Consider flood insurance. We've seen so many homes flooded in recent years. Regular homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage. It's important to note flood policies don't take effect until 30 days after the purchase. Steps to take. Now to make things easier, should a hurricane and one more note email your videos and pictures to yourself so that you have access to him, no matter what might happen to your phone or computer. Monica Liberty, WRL News five on your side When it comes to forecasting tropical systems and the threat they may pose to all of us. WR Ailes Team of Meteorologists Have you covered better than anyone else? Cat Campbell shows us some of the new tools you notice this season, all designed to give you and your loved ones as much time as possible to prepare, no matter the impact. We have new and exclusive model forecasters here that we're excited to share with you that you will only see on W r. A. L. You've heard us talk about the European model when forecasting tropical systems before we like to use it because, on average it is the most accurate model in the world. Now we're able to use that European model run several times in a row, changing the initial numbers slightly each time to account for the uncertainty that the weather brings. This gives us a range of possibilities in different weather situations. Using this information, we can find the probability that a tropical system will develop or strengthen this new product. That you will see. Issues on air is useful not only in predicting if tropical systems will form, but also the likelihood that they will strengthen into a tropical storm or a hurricane. Keep an eye out for this exciting new model data this hurricane season only on WRL when hurricane season heats up. Our team of experienced meteorologists, combined with the largest newsroom in the state of North Carolina, will be here to help you weather the storm. No matter where you are, download the WRE a weather app now to sign up for severe weather alerts, from high winds to flooding toe lightning warnings and to access the real time hurricane tracker and our interactive I control Doppler in the palm of your hand. Thanks for watching tracking the tropics, surviving the season. I'm Lena to let