The past few weeks were gut-wrenching for me as a human being and a meteorologist. Three hurricanes have caused one of the greatest cumulative humanitarian crises in modern history. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have literally destroyed parts of the Caribbean and United States. The past month is a stark reminder of why I never cheer or root for storms even as they fascinate me.
In all three of these cases, meteorologically, we saw what was coming. There should be no discussion or innuendo about not being aware of the danger or where these storms were going. Warning bells were going off from multiple sources. This makes things particularly hard when your expertise allows you to see the potential for life-altering winds, rain, and storm surge. Some of the smaller islands like Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Maarten have virtually its entire infrastructure destroyed and in some cases, no residents are able to live there. The Florida Keys took a direct from Irma and will be recovering many months. Hurricane Maria has left the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in dire shape. Hurricane Harvey brought a “one-two” punch of wind and sustained flooding to southeast Texas and Louisiana.
As I mentioned, the models and meteorologists sniffed out all of the possibilities well in advance, but some people didn’t believe the forecasts, decided to ride out the storms, or had no sense for how to mentally prepare for the destructive forces that were being warned about.
The 2017 hurricane season has been one for the record books with hurricane after hurricane striking land, but 25 years ago it only took a singular storm to leave an impression that will last forever. This week we hear from the man who talked South Florida through the last Category 5 storm to hit the United States. Meteorologist Bryan Norcross tells us his Hurricane Andrew Story. We also consider what we learned from that experience in preparing for and communicating contemporary hurricane threats.
Join us for an all new episode of Weather Geeks this weekend. The show always airs Noon ET (11 am CT, 10 am MT, 9 am PT) on The Weather Channel.
By the way, we have a special and well-deserved surprise for our colleagues at the National Weather Service on the show.