Philip Kelly Jackman. Weather Site Inc. Miami, FL.
have long been a concern for tourist visiting the state of Florida. Some people
may think, tempting tourist to visit Disney World and other vacation
attractions, in a state likely to be blown off the map, is a sadistic trick.
Still millions of people take that risk every summer.
the modern day vacationer, many of the first tourists to visit Florida did so as
a result of hurricanes, not in spite of them. For example back in 1715, a
flotilla of 5 ships under the command of Captain Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla, set
sail from Havana Cuba to sail north along the coast of Florida, in route to
Spain. The five ships carried silver coins, gold coins, gold bars, silver bars,
jewelry, emeralds, pearls, and Chinese porcelain. The total value of cargo
carried aboard the ships would be worth about 90 million dollars today, give or
take a Doubloon.
weather was sunny and mild when the flotilla left Havana Harbor, but just a few
hundred miles north the ships were overtaken by a hurricane. It turned out not
to be a good day for a boat trip.
the storm passed 2,500 seaman had perished. Those sailors, who had miraculously
survived, washed up on the beaches of what is now Cape Canaveral Florida. This
is less than 60 miles from present day Orlando, the home of Mickey Mouse, Sea
World and scores of other attractions.
1715, the whole idea of making Florida a tourist destination was still in the
very early planning stages. Instead of basking by the pool-watching thong clad
beauties, the sailors found themselves in an inhospitable land, infested with
disease-carrying mosquitoes, rattle snakes, wild animals, and hostile Indians.
the whole place is better organized and more hospitable. There are still
mosquitoes, rattle snakes, alligators, poisonous insects, and other wild
animals, but they mainly confine themselves to the swamps of the Florida
Everglades. Many Indians also still live in modern day Florida, but if they
scalp you today, it will be in modern gambling casinos operated on some Florida
Indian reservations. Since 1715 there have been a number of improvements made
for the tourist visiting Florida. There is however still the possibility of
fact, the hurricanes can be as unfriendly now as they were in 1715. So, what do
you need to know about hurricanes before you visit Florida? If you want to spend
time in the sunshine state with almost no possibility of encountering a
hurricane, come between December 1st, and May 31st.
Hurricanes are only spawned when the waters of the Atlantic or The Gulf of
Mexico are sufficiently warmed under the spring and summer sun. The official
hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th.
you decide to visit Florida during hurricane season, what kind of risk are you
all hurricanes are among the most powerful climatic events to occur on our
planet, should you be concerned about bringing you family to such a treacherous
answer is no. If you are planning to visit Florida for a fun in the sun vacation,
make your reservations, pack your bathing suit and come on over. As a visitor,
you have nothing to fear. If a hurricane should threaten some part of Florida,
you will have plenty of notice from The National Hurricane Center. There will be
ample time to get out of harms way and visit some other parts of Florida or
maybe another State. Radio and television news will report the position of any
active storm during every broadcast. If you bring your laptop computer you can
log onto real time hurricane updates, including easy to read maps that display
the hurricanes current position and the forecast path for the next 3 days. One
of the best Internet sites is Hurricanes 2001.Com. (http://www.hurricanes2001.com).
you look at a map of the United States, it would be easy to think the state of
Florida should be hit by every storm moving west across the Atlantic, or by all
storms trapped in the Gulf Of Mexico looking for a way out. In fact compared to
the amount of storms, which form each year, Florida is struck relatively few
times. If you would like to find out just how often Florida
(or any; country, state or city) is hit by a hurricane log onto
and things you should know about hurricanes. It is widely believed that when a
hurricane hits Florida, all of Florida is affected. This is not true! Florida is
a large state. It is very possible for a major storm to severely impact one part
of the state and have little or no adverse consequences for the rest of the
state. Hurricane Andrew (1992) is an example of this. Andrew was the most costly
natural disaster in the history of The United States (over 21 billion dollars),
but it was confined to a very small area across the southern tip of Florida.
Theme parks in central Florida continued operating as usual. It is possible for
a hurricane to travel up the entire coastline of Florida, but even then, cities
and towns in the middle of the state and on the opposite coast would not
necessarily experience dangerous weather conditions. As a vacationer all you
need to know is, hurricanes are dangerous but you need not fear vacationing in
Florida because of them.
do hurricanes come from? Hurricanes begin as a large area of thunderstorms.
These thunderstorms start on the West Coast of Africa, the South Central
Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, not all
thunderstorms in these areas become hurricanes. Most thunderstorms over these
waters usually run out of energy and die with out fanfare.
storms (the first stage to a hurricane) develop when the conditions are just
right. A tropical storm starts when the heat from the water is
pulled up into a strong area of thunderstorms then cools and falls back
to the surface around the circumference of the storms. This action can intensify
until, warm air is pulled up into the storms so quickly the surface pressure
begins to drop. As the surface pressure continues to drop, an area of
thunderstorms may consolidate into one large storm mass and begin a counter
clockwise rotation. Over a period of a few days, this cycle may cause surface
wind speeds that exceed 35 knots. When this happens, the storm is officially
designated a tropical storm and given a name.
year about a dozen areas of disturbed weather, build into tropical storms. Of
that number, a few achieve a minimum sustained wind speed of 64 mph and are then
officially designated as hurricanes.
far this article has addressed the threat of hurricanes to tourist visiting
Florida. What if you are not a tourist? What if you live Florida? Have you ever
wondered what it would be like to like to face the possibility of a being in a
is a hypothetical (but not unlikely storm scenario). It is mid September.
Satellite images show a large area of thunderstorms moving west off the coast of
Africa into the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center in Miami Florida
includes this information in their daily hurricane summary of the Atlantic,
Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. This is a common occurrence during hurricane
season so no one in Florida is concerned at the report.
days pass, as the area of disturbed weather approaches the middle of the South
Atlantic, 2500 miles east southeast of Florida. Satellite images show the area
is starting to intensify and there are indications of some circulation. Still
few residents of Florida pay a lot of attention to the storm, however The
National Hurricane Center in Miami is calculating the possibility of the storm
becoming a Hurricane. Hurricane forecasters look at all of the weather data
available and determine conditions are favorable for rapid strengthening of this
system. Marine forecast, alert mariners to the disturbance as it moves west
across the Atlantic.
has been 5 days since the band of thunderstorms formed over the African Coast
and began moving westward. The storm has begun to intensify and circulation is
easily visible from satellite photos (these satellite photos can be seen in real
time on hurricanes2001.com).
the 6th day The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
sends a hurricane hunter aircraft into the area of disturbed weather. The
hurricane hunter aircraft takes measurements and verifies a developing area of
low pressure is forming in the center of the storm. With the storm more than a
1,700 miles from land, few people are concerned with the news of its
development. Two more days pass and another hurricane hunter aircraft is sent to
take measurements. It is determined the storms surface winds exceed 35 knots.
The disturbance is now a tropical storm. The National Hurricane Center names the
new storm Martin.
day 10 Martin is still intensifying, Winds are now 76 knots, Martin is now a
Hurricane. It is September, and the waters are warm after a hot summer.
Hurricane models (computer software designed to forecast the future path of a
hurricane) show a high probability Martin will strike the northern most Virgin
Islands and then pass just North of Puerto Rico. If you look at a map it appears
as if the hurricane is on a straight course for Southeast Florida, still no one
in Florida is overly concerned.
the beginning of each hurricane season, All Florida residents are encouraged to
buy hurricane supplies. These supplies should include a good portable radio and
possibly, a battery operated TV. It is also important to buy plenty of canned
food, which can be eaten without being cooked.
Bottled water is a necessity after a hurricane, it may be weeks before
water is safe to drink. Every household should have enough bottled water for
each person in the family to have 1 gallon per day for up to three weeks. When a
storm is imminent, panic shopping may make it impossible to buy the necessary
supplies. Unfortunately too many people hope for the best and do not stock up on
hurricane supplies while they are plentiful.
now has winds of 125 mph and has made a slight turn to the west northwest. It
appears as if the hurricane will pass north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto
Rico. The computer models are uncertain about the path over the next 5 days. If
the path of the storm does not change, Martin might hit central Florida around
Cape Canaveral. Hurricane forecasters are looking at a high-pressure system
moving east-southeast across the middle of the United States. If the
high-pressure system moves fast, enough it may cause Martin to turn north and
maybe Northeast, out to sea. For
now, there is nothing to do but wait and follow the progress of Martin. Viewers
logging onto http://www.hurricanes2001.com start to increase in numbers as
residents along the East Coast of Florida become more interested in the up to
date reports on Hurricane Martin.
is Monday morning, Martin now has top sustained winds of 150 mph with gust up to
175 mph. A major hurricane capable of massive destruction is now less than 3
days from the U.S. coastline. This is the most critical of times for the
forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. If the models are correct a
high-pressure system moving east across the country will intercept Martin before
it reaches shore and turn the hurricane northwest, towards the Carolinas or
northeast away from land and out to sea.
National Hurricane center uses a variety of computer models to analyze all of
the variables that may influence a hurricane. When things go right all or most
of the models will project a similar forecast for the future size and course of
a hurricane. When this occurs it gives hurricane forecasters a higher level of
confidence in projecting possible target areas.
time the models are not all in agreement. Three models show a good probability
the hurricane will turn north-northwest toward the Carolinas and then make a
turn northeast turn out to sea, without making landfall. Another model shows the
high pressure system stalling in its forward momentum, allowing Martin to
continue on towards central Florida. The National Hurricane Center advises all
persons living on the East Coast of the United States from Key West to Virginia
to monitor the progress of Martin and be prepared to take action if necessary.
National Hurricane Center must issue Hurricane Warnings when a storm is within
24 hours of possibly striking land. This is because a shorter warning time would
not permit people to take actions necessary to protect their homes and seek safe
shelter. Forecasters do not want to issue a warning for a particular area and
then be wrong. False alerts lessen the credibility of the National Hurricane
Center and cause communities to take costly mandatory emergency measures that
may not be needed.
a Hurricane Warning is issued, many coastal communities must begin mandatory
evacuation from homes, offices, hotels, and motels. Businesses close, school is
canceled, previously designated emergency shelters are opened for those whom
leave there homes and have nowhere else to go. These shelters are sometimes
schools, hospitals, airports, or even shopping malls.
situation for the hurricane forecasters is not good. Hurricane Martin has the
potential to strike land anywhere from Florida to New York or turn out to sea
without hitting land at all. Martin is now just 380 miles east-southeast of Cape
Canaveral and still moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour. On this course,
Martin will strike the central Florida Coast in 36 hours.
National hurricane Center issues a Hurricane Watch from Miami Florida northward
to Savannah Georgia. This means a hurricane may strike within 36 hours. All
residents in a Hurricane Watch area should make any last minute purchases of
items necessary to protect themselves and their property in the event a
hurricane warning is issued.
are funny, everyone knows you can lose your home, possessions and even your life
if you find yourself in the path of a major hurricane. Still many people seem to
feel a sense of excitement when a hurricane watch is issued for their area. Very
few adults will admit to this but quite often, there is a feeling of
disappointment when a storm turns away from your doorstep and moves in another
direction. Of course no rational person wants to see his home destroyed or his
family placed in danger, but the possible impact of a hurricane does raise
adrenaline levels and can cause a high that is difficult to explain or
a Hurricane Watch now issued, food stores in the Hurricane Watch areas are now
overrun with customers. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to stock up
on provisions they should have purchased months earlier. Water and canned goods
are swept into shopping carts by panicky shoppers. Bread, soft drinks, potato
chips, cookies and candy, disappear from shelves. Now people start filling their
carts with frozen foods, and other perishables like milk, meat, and even Ice
Cream. Shoppers are now buying anything available without thought. If Martin
does strike, there will not be any electricity to run freezers, or electric
stoves; there will not be gas to cook with.
of the very first products to be sold out, are batteries. People grab batteries
by the hand full. Many people do not take time (before coming to the store) to
find out what kind of batteries they need for their flashlight, radio, or
portable TV. As a result, they buy any battery they can find.
in line to buy fuel begin backing up onto streets causing traffic jams. Tempers
are getting short and drivers are beginning to disregard traffic signals. Small
automobile accidents are increasing as drivers try to rush to destinations. This
is also the time when rumors start. It is very important to only listen to
official information or log onto dependable hurricane sites like
news is now completely devoted to tracking Hurricane Martin; announcers have
long list of last minute suggestions. Take in your outdoor lawn furniture so it
does not fly around; clean your bathtub with bleach so you can fill it with
clean water, to use after the storm. Place your family photos and valuable
papers in a waterproof container and then put it somewhere safe like the trunk
of your car, make sure your pets are inside your home. If you leave your home
and go to a shelter, your pets are not allowed to come with you. Be sure to go
to the bank or ATM and get plenty of cash (after the storm, banks will be closed
and ATMs will not work without electricity). Get plenty of diapers and baby
food. Find your insurance papers and have them in a safe place so you can call
your insurance company after the storm. If you stay at home, don't cook inside
with portable stoves or barbecues, you can set your home on fire or be overcome
buy carbon monoxide. The list of things to do and not to do goes on and on.
It is now Tuesday evening the models at the National Hurricane Center are still in disagreement, the storm is now 24 hours from Central Florida and still tracking for Cape Canaveral. If a landfall is to be averted the projected turn North-northwest needs to happen soon. As Martin continues westward, the National Hurricane Center issues a Hurricane Warning for Palm Beach FL to Jacksonville FL. This means all residents should take immediate final actions to secure their property and protect themselves. The Hurricane Watch is extended north to Savannah Georgia. The Hurricane watch is also extended across Florida including Orlando in the middle of the state and Tampa to Tallahassee on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Tourist are now advised to leave the Hurricane Warning area as quickly as possible and to be ready to move from Hurricane Watch areas.
night falls, homeowners work in the darkness putting up hurricane shutters. Many
residents decide they are not going to stay and ride out the storm. Roads and
highways begin to fill with cars heading north out of the path of Martin. As the
highways fill with cars traffic jams begin. You don't want to be caught in a
major hurricane in your car on an open highway. Accidents begin to slow traffic to a near standstill. As
traffic slows some divers realize the storm could overtake them. Hotel lobbies
and roadside restaurants begin to overflow with people looking for any place to
wait out the storm.
is 3AM Wednesday morning, a few light showers sweep across parts of central
Florida but the main winds from Martin are at least 12 hours away. Already
hospital emergency rooms have seen an increased number of patients. Some people
have injured themselves trying to use power saws in the darkness. Some people
have been cut buy the sharp edges of steel or aluminum hurricane panels used to
protect windows. Many food stores and lumber stores have been open for the past
30 hours and the shelves are empty.
the sun comes up the situation does not seem as urgent as it did overnight. The
sky is blue and there is just a light breeze. At 6am. The National Hurricane
Center reports Martins forward speed has stopped. It appears the high-pressure
system to the west is taking hold and the future course of Martin is now
residents from Key West to New York should continue to monitor the path of this
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