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Forecasting The Unknown

Like all professionals who are asked to predict future events, meteorologists bear a heavy burden because their forecasts effect people's safety and wellbeing.  At the 2014 National Hurricane Conference and the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference, Dr. Rick Knabb of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) addressed the shortcomings of forecasting. For example, "seasonal" forecasts tend to be broad and generalized. In addition, the categorization of hurricane strength (i.e. Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) is based only on wind speed and doesn't address other potential hazardous conditions.

But improvements are on the way. The NHC is launching an experimental online "Potential Storm Surge Flooding" map that shows the possible extent and depth of storm surge flooding for a given storm. The map depicts potential water depth as well as how far inland a surge could go.  With storm surge responsible for over half of hurricane related deaths, this is vital information.  The state and local evacuation maps also provide important information that help people make informed decisions.

Bryan Koon, Vice President of the National Emergency Management Association and Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, noted that the quieter than usual hurricane season has left too many people complacent.  The best course of action is to have a preparedness plan in place because disasters can happen at any time, anywhere.

 Here are 10 common mistakes that jeopardize safety and recovery:

 1. Failing to know the threat

2. Failing to evacuate

3. Failing to leave on time

4. Failing to protect the home

5. Failing to organize important papers

6. Failing to inventory valuables

7. Failing to ensure adequate insurance

8. Failing to make provisions

9. Failing to know protocols

10. Failing to provide for pets

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