Storm Warnings

Friday, 7 October Update

A wiggle and a wobble can make a huge difference

If you got lucky this time take that as a sign of good luck – don’t take it as an excuse to not evacuate next time.

Most definitely don’t let it stop you from evacuating (or hunkering down) if you are still in the path of the storm. The storm is still very dangerous and it the latest forecast is showing potential landfall in Charleston.  

Hurricane forecasting has improved tremendously over the last 50 years and it continues to improve but it’s a tough job and the storms are huge and the slightest change can mean a hit or miss or something in between. Forecasting will continue to get better and someday we may know an exact path but today these forecasts are as good as we can make them. Your local government working with your Emergency Managers make their decisions based on the worst case scenario and hope for the best. If you want to see a bit of the decision making process and training your emergency managers go through there is a link at the bottom of the page. You’ll learn about hurricanes at the same time. There is also a module/game to teach your kids about hurricane science and safety.

Storm surge and inland flooding – water – is what kills more people than the wind and that will be the biggest impact we’ll see from Hurricane Matthew. The graphic above shows you a bit about the power of the water (and the winds).

If you’re interested this module will teach you a bit more about storm surge.

Introduction to Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge

Thursday, 6 October

A hurricane is heading your way. What do you do?

If you’re warned to evacuate you do just what you are told. Don’t think – it won’t be that bad.

Don’t think – I’ve made it through the last storm so why should I leave this time.


My house survived the last time so it’ll be fine this time.


Hey, I want to experience a hurricane – let’s have a party…

I’ve lived (as a non-meteorologist) in the meteorological world (doing education for forecasters and emergency managers and…) for decades so I know lots of stories…

Just a couple

So here’s a few – a former head of the NWS Hurricane Center didn’t evacuate and didn’t stay at the hurricane center and ended up spending the storm in the bathtub with his wife with a  mattress over their heads – it was a very long storm for them

Or the owner of a B&B that we used to stay at when we visited Stennis – it was right on the coast and we had known the owner for years. We visited her in May and were talking to her about people who didn’t evacuate and how silly that was. She had ridden out the last hurricane and had confidence in her house but we kept telling her it wasn’t a good idea. My colleague was supposed to stay with her right before Katrina. he, of course, cancelled his trip when he did he begged her to evacuate. She said no. He called back and told her that she had a 15 ft wall of water headed her way. She said no.

You might have seen her on CNN afterwards – she rode out the storm in a tree – her house was entirely gone – luckily one of the trees survived. More amazingly even her dogs survived but that was pure luck and hours of hell that she didn’t have to live through – had she just evacuated.

Or the college students who decided to have a party – they all ended up dead.

So when you hear the warnings – take them seriously.

It’s not just winds – 100 – 150 miles per hour…

It’s not just rain – lots and lots of rain…

It’s flooding…

It’s storm surge – could be 10 feet – 15 feet – that wall of water I mentioned above…

Water kills…

Be careful – even after the storm is over – don’t overwork yourself – watch out for electrical lines…

If you are told to leave, leave…

If you have a chance to leave even in a non-evacuation ordered area and you have an option – you might want to head away – you’re very likely to lose power. If not be prepared, have your hurricane survival kit.

If you want to learn more about hurricane’s my old stomping grounds ( has lots of resources.

Hurricane Strike – teaches kids about hurricane science and safety – then gets them to teach their parents and model good behavior – get the kids to tell the parents to leave or how to prepare for a storm

Community Hurricane Preparedness – this is one of the ways that FEMA Emergency Managers learn about hurricanes and how to prepare for them

There are other resources on the site – just do a search on the site and you can learn a bit more about hurricanes…


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