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Meteorologists hope this hurricane season will impact the way Floridians react to storms in the future

Gainesville WCJB-TV logo Gainesville WCJB-TV 11/28/2022 WCJB Staff
A tree that fell on to a home in Florida during the 2022 Hurricane season. © Provided by Gainesville WCJB-TV A tree that fell on to a home in Florida during the 2022 Hurricane season.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (NSF) - The six-month hurricane season will end this week. While the early part of the season was relatively quiet, Category 4 Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Southwest Florida and swept across the state at the end of September. Category 1 Nicole hit the East Coast this month.

Weather and disaster-relief experts hope Ian and Nicole will help spur people in the future to look beyond forecast cones that indicate potential storm paths and to be aware of local maps of flood-prone areas. Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie says one change could be providing a secondary storm-path cone focused on storm surge.

According to Guthrie, ”We’ve got to figure out the storm surge issue and how we communicate storm surge better in the future, because storm surge warnings were out from the Florida Keys all the way up through Apalachicola Bay. How do we more effectively communicate watches, warnings and evacuations around storm surge?”

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Numerous questions were raised about Ian evacuations, after initial forecasts indicated the storm could hit the densely populated Tampa Bay area. The storm ended up making landfall September 28th in Lee and Charlotte counties.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kelly Godsey anticipates a possible slight revision in the track code indicating the potential path of storms. ”The track code follows where the center of the storm is going to go. It’s not an impact cone, and I think that’s a message that we’ll continue to spread each and every season, as we did this season”, said Godsey.

During the 2022 season, the Atlantic was quiet throughout August for the first time in 15 years. But with Nicole, the season also produced only the third hurricane to hit Florida in November since such records started to be collected in 1853. In between was Ian, which as of last week had caused 139 confirmed deaths, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That is the highest death toll in Florida from a storm since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, which killed more than 400 people.

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