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What can we expect this hurricane season? | Across the Sky podcast

The new director of the National Hurricane Center, Mike Brennan, joined the weather team this week for an in-depth discussion on all things hurricanes.

From the biggest concerns, the latest forecast and communication improvements, to the impact of climate change, it’s everything you need to know as hurricane season 2023 gets underway.

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What to expect this hurricane season | Across the Sky podcast

About the Across the Sky podcast

The weekly weather podcast is hosted on a rotation by the Lee Weather team:

Matt Holiner of Lee Enterprises’ Midwest group in Chicago, Kirsten Lang of the Tulsa World in Oklahoma, Joe Martucci of the Press of Atlantic City, N.J., and Sean Sublette of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia.

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Episode transcript

Note: The following transcript was created by Adobe Premiere and may contain misspellings and other inaccuracies as it was generated automatically:

Hello, once again, everybody. I’m meteorologist Sean Sublette. And welcome to Across the Sky, our National Lee Enterprises weather podcast. Lee Enterprises has print and digital news operations in 77 locations across the country, including in my home base in Richmond, Virginia. I’m joined this week by my colleague Matt Holiner in Chicago. And both Joe Martucci and Kirsten Lang are taking some time away from the office.

Matt, we’ve got a great yes. This week, National Hurricane Center director Mike Brennan, we’re going to talk all about not just what’s upcoming this hurricane season. We talk about trends. We talk about communications. Man, there’s a lot of stuff to get to today. Yeah, we really did cover a lot of them because we were so happy to actually get him on the podcast.

I mean, this time of year he’s doing so many interviews in preparation of hurricane season. So we’re like, Yes, we got him. And so for the short amount of time that we had him, the 30 minutes, we throw as many questions as we could at him and really did cover everything. And, you know, he just took over the job recently in April.

So, you know, it’s a bit of a learning curve for him. But he has been with the hurricane center for years and it has been working with him. And you can tell that he’s he’s just filling right into the role and got all of our questions answered. So it was a fantastic episode. Absolutely. So let’s get right at it with National Hurricane Center director Michael Brennan.

And we welcome Mike Brennan, director of the National Hurricane Center in South Florida. Shortly after getting his Ph.D. at NC State and his time at the NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center in suburban D.C. He began as senior hurricane specialist at NHC in 28 and was selected as Hurricane Center director earlier on this year. Dr. Brennan, thank you for joining us and congratulations.

Thanks, Sean. Great to be with you. Now, before we talk about the upcoming hurricane season, step back a little bit. Tell us what got you excited and into the weather in the first place. Yeah, I think like most meteorologist, pretty well bitten with the weather bug at a pretty early age. Something I’ve always been interested in. I grew up in southwest Virginia, a place with lots of interesting weather, you know, all four seasons at winter weather.

It was pretty interested in that, you know, very flash flood prone area, heavy rainfall, remnants of hurricanes, severe weather. So it was a pretty interesting place to grow up. You know, I think one pretty formative moment was a 19 November, 1985, the flood of record in the Roanoke Valley in southwest Virginia. Still, the flood of record, the remnants of a tropical storm that made landfall on the Gulf Coast came up.

It rained very heavily for several days, had five or six inches of rain on, I think it was November 5th or sixth that year. And the whole hydro system sort of went into flood and my grandmother lost her home in that event. So it was pretty, pretty impressionable. I was about eight at the time. So, you know, and I think as I got older, I sort of dawned on me that I could actually make it.

Yeah, there’s a there’s a career to have in meteorology if you want to want to do that. I think probably by the time I was 11 or 12, I sort of recognized that and just decided to pursue it from there. Well, we’re glad to have you and very happy that you’re there at the Hurricane Center. Looking forward to this coming year, whatever it may bring.

Can you talk a little bit about what kind of changes have any regarding public and experimental products? I might be coming out of the Hurricane Hurricane Center for for this season? Sure. Yeah. Probably the most notable one is our tropical weather outlook, which is sort of our flagship situational awareness product that we issue every 6 hours to talk about systems that could go on to become tropical depressions or tropical storms in the Atlantic.

The period that we cover in that product is now extended out for seven days under the future. It’s been five days for for many years we’ve been experimenting with seven day Genesis forecasts for the last three or four seasons. And they’re they’re pretty reliable, which means that if over the long term, if we say a system has a 70% chance of development, about 70% of those systems go on to develop so that they’re statistically reliable.

And so this year we pushed that time window out to seven days. So to give people just a little more heads up, a little better situational awareness that, hey, this is a system, the Hurricane Center is watching, that what could go on and become a tropical depression or tropical storm during the next week. Not every system is going to be in the outlook seven days in advance, though.

We still have systems that are difficult to forecast formation, especially when you get out of the deep tropics. But for those systems are more competent and we hope to be giving people more lead time this year going back to those outlooks than once something gets developed into the Atlantic Basin, Gulf or the Caribbean. Talk about how track and intensity forecast have improved over the last 20 years because most of the metrics I’ve seen show that the track intensity, the track forecasts have just become stellar.

But we still have some work to do with intensity forecast. How is that kind of gone last last 20 years or so? Yeah, if you go back and look, say, since the year 2000, our track forecast errors, say for example, at three days or about 65% lower than they were at that time. So you can see our three day track forecast error is now below 100 miles, which, you know, if you would’ve told somebody that it was more like 250 miles back in 2000.

So that’s been a tremendous improvement there. And we have for many decades, we’ve seen the track forecast steadily improving all the way from the 1980s and nineties up till today. And we still continue to see that improving. On the intensity side, that’s the story for many years was that the tracks are getting better, but the intensity forecasts are not.

But that’s really not true anymore. We’ve started to see significant improvements in our intensity forecast here. And if you look just at our three day intensity error now compared to 2000, it’s about 50%. It’s about half of what it was then. We’re down below ten, about ten knots. Used to be around 20 knots. So we’re making progress there.

That’s pretty much new in the last 10 to 15 years. And we’re also making progress in rapid intensity events where we cut our 24 hour forecast error in half for rapidly intensifying systems just in the last like four or five years. And Mike, with the tropical weather outlooks going out to seven days, I think that raises the question, are we at the point where we’re going to expand the forecast cones when we have an active storm out to seven days?

Is that happening this year? Are there any plans in the future? Not this year, but it’s something we’ve been experimenting with. We’ve been making six and seven day track and intensity forecasts in-house for the better part of the last four or five years in evaluating them, trying to see when we’re going to be ready to make those public.

You know, on average, the average errors are pretty good. They’re they’re pretty close to what the average five dayers were or better than the average five dayers, where we reduce the five day forecast back and I think 2003. But the challenge with seven days is you get about 10% of those cases where the errors are really, really big.

And you know, you think of a system where you it’s forecast to recur, but it doesn’t recurve or you can end up with errors of six or 700 miles a day, seven. So we want to try to be very careful about introducing those forecast and even more careful about how we convey them in a graphical way. I’m not sure we want to just extend the current cone out to seven days.

You know, maybe we do something different. So we’re working with the social science community on sort of what the cone graphic might become in the next few years, and that’ll probably be part of how we go on and convey the six and seven day forecast information at that time. Yeah, Mike, I know there’s been a little bit of a buzz to have more of a dynamic statistical cone, if you will.

In other words, you know, there’s always been, well, this is what our average era is. So this is where the cone is. Yeah. But that that doesn’t always work the best. How how is that discussion going along? Yeah, you could tell us about that. I think that’s part of a broader discussion we want to have about, you know, what’s driving our probabilistic products, not just the cone, but the probabilistic storm surge information and the probabilistic information about tropical storm and hurricane force winds.

Right now, you’re right, they all use basically historical errors over the past five years or so. You know, what are the typical errors at day one, two, three, four or five in terms of track intensity, How much does the size of the storm vary? We want to start moving towards incorporating real time uncertainty information from ensembles into those into those products.

So that’s that’s a goal that we want to try to work toward. I think it’ll probably come first for track because that’s where we have the most reliable ensembles. Now we can use global ensembles from the European that GFS that can can start to capture the uncertainty in the track forecast. They’re not perfect, but we probably have and we have information we could extract from them getting to the intensity and the structure.

Information is going to take more time. We’re going to have to have a, you know, a bigger and right now we don’t really have a dynamical model hurricane ensemble that really can, you know, capture the uncertainty and the structure and the intensity of the storms. That’s something we need to work towards. But my guess is it will be a gradual process over the next several years, maybe 5 to 10 years, where we start to phase in more dynamical uncertainty, information into those types of products there to be able to convey, you know, what the uncertainty is of this particular forecast case.

And Mike, I know a lot of people are familiar with the National Hurricane Center, at least hearing the name, but I don’t think they know a lot of the details about the hurricane Center. So how many people work at the National Hurricane Center? And then does the staffing change based on during hurricane season and outside of hurricane season?

And then if you have multiple storms in the Atlantic and Pacific, does your staffing change even within hurricane season? Yeah, well, certainly the staffing changes on a given shift depending on the levels of activity. But we have about 50 federal employees that work at the hurricane Center. We also have some contractor support. We also have folks from FEMA and from the Air Force that work in the building with us to help coordinate emergency management messaging on the femicide and also help coordinate all the aircraft reconnaissance tasking from the Air Force and Noah, from our Air Force employees that work in the building.

So we also have a year round operational Marine forecast branch called Taffy, the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, which issues high seas forecasts, Marine forecast and warnings year round 24 seven Inside and outside of hurricane season. And then we have the hurricane forecast operations that pretty much are running from May 15th to November 30th. But you’re right, the level of staffing, especially on the hurricane operations side, is pretty variable because it’s it’s sort of a activity dependent workload.

You know, sometimes we have quiet periods where there’s no storms. There might be one storm. We typically have two people scheduled for every shift, regardless of activity. But then we can supplement that staffing when we do get the three or four storms or we get to a big, you know, land threatening storm internationally or in the United States, the workload goes up a fair bit because there’s more data to look at from aircraft.

There’s more coordination to do in terms of international coordination for watches and warnings, internal coordination with the National Weather Service for U.S. threats. So, you know, sometimes we have it can get really, really busy. We have a storm surge unit that activates when we have storm surge threats for the U.S. and internationally as well. So they sort of have an operational piece.

So it’s not, you know, for a big U.S. landfall threat, we might have five, six, seven people out on the ops for, you know, doing all the different parts of the job which go from data analysis, somebody doing the forecast, doing the coordination, doing the messaging and getting the word out to everybody. So back to that point about what you do during the course of the hurricane season, I think when I was still an undergrad in I believe it was Bob Sheets was the director at the time, once told me that you’re actually busier outside of hurricane season than during hurricane season.

Is that still the case and why? I think we’re as busy, at least, you know, because the off season is is where we do all of our outreach, all of our training for emergency managers, for meteorologists. We have go to hurricane conferences. It’s sort of where we do the the yearly run up to the hurricane season. Some of it’s just reminding people we have a hurricane awareness tour where we take hurricane hunter aircraft out to different parts of the country.

You know, it’s it’s interesting. This has sort of been the first year where we’ve gotten fully back into our in-person outreach and training post-COVID. But we still are keeping a lot of the virtual stuff we did during COVID. So we’re adding on more and more outreach that we, you know, really wouldn’t been able to handle before because there’s only so many people to go around.

There’s only so many weeks, there’s only so much travel. But when you have an ability to do virtual outreach, that sort of really expands your your reach and your scale. So we have you know, it’s you know, we have outreach that’s going to go all the way into even into early parts of the hurricane season. Now, the the the effort to reeducate people, remind people of the threats is constant.

We have people moving to hurricane prone areas every year from areas where they don’t have hurricanes. Other hurricane prone areas haven’t had significant impacts in a long time. But people forget pretty quickly what the what the risk might be. So there’s a continual education effort to that that we undertake in the off season. It’s not just that, though.

We’re doing the post analysis from all the storms from last year, writing up all the tropical cyclone reports, working with the modeling community to improve our forecast models that go into effect for the next year. So there’s always a continual focus on improving the products and services that is heavily, you know, heavily skewed toward the off season or the outside hurricane season time.

And then sticking with the staffing theme, you know, one of the buzzy things that just keeps getting brought up and brought up in so many different aspects of society these days is artificial intelligence. So I’m curious, is the Hurricane Center currently using any artificial intelligence? Are there plans to implement it in the future? We’re starting to dabble in it a little bit.

We have some some intensity models that are using things like neural networks to try and, you know, pull in different sources of information and come up with different ways to create consensus forecast for tropical cyclone intensity. But I think, you know, that’s an area where we’re going to have to move going forward into the future simply because the human forecasters ability to absorb information in the time that you have to do the forecast is somewhat limited.

And as observations continue to increase and especially model output, you know, you could imagine five, ten years from now we’re going to have orders of magnitude more models for forecasters to look at. You’re going to have to have some sort of tools that are going to be able to synthesize that information, give you different clusters of solutions to look at, figure out how the human is going to interact with all that data going forward.

So I think I could certainly be a part of that as we move into the future. I imagine that’s a tool unlike any tool that could be used very well, and sometimes it could be used not so well. So we’ll we’ll see how that goes. I’m going to take a little bit of a break, then we’ll be right back with more with National Hurricane Center Director Mike Brennan on the Across the Sky podcast.

And we’re back with National Hurricane Center Director Mike Brennan on the Across the Sky podcast. And we’re getting into hurricane season on the 1st of June, and there’s a lot of buzz, as there always is, about what kind of the season we’re going to have. Now without getting too specific, You know, Mike, in general, when we have a positive insight or an El Nino that tends to inhibit tropical cyclone, a hurricane formation, that’s that’s kind of a baseline.

Yeah. But what other kinds of things are out there in terms of clues to what kind of a season we may have in the Atlantic basin? Yeah, and you’re right, El Nino and La Nina are two of the biggest is one of one of the biggest factors we see and sort of modulating overall activity in the Atlantic, especially in the deep tropics.

But there are a lot of other factors. The Atlantic basin is very warm this year, which would normally be indicative of a potentially busier season. We’ve been in this active area for many years now, going all the way back to the mid 1990s, and we don’t see any signs that that active era has come to an end, certainly based on the last few years of activity.

So what we’re likely to see this year is just competing factors. Yeah, we don’t know how El Nino is going to evolve, how quickly it’s going to strengthen, you know, does it does it come on quicker? Does it come on slower or how strong is it going to be? How does that interplay with these other factors in the Atlantic basin in terms of seas and other factors that might be more favorable for an active season?

So I would emphasize that, you know, we don’t know what the season is going to look like, but we’ve had plenty of hurricane impacts in the United States and El Nino years and otherwise less active years. We’ve had major hurricane landfalls, the biggest killer in the last ten years, and tropical storms and hurricanes in this country, as is rainfall, flooding, which has very little to do with how strong storms are.

So even if you get weaker systems that don’t go on to develop or even become a hurricane, you can still have significant rainfall, flooding impacts. So again, we try to keep people focused on the hazards. And, you know, we always say that it only takes one storm affecting you to make it a bad season where you are. And that’s the message we put out there, regardless of what any seasonal forecast might say.

And best that we can, we try to re-emphasize that message as well. Yeah, only, you know, I think run from wind, hide from water. I believe it’s something along those lines the other way around the run from the water. I hide from the wind. That’s it. That’s kept me. Thank you very much. But yeah, the water really is is the long term threat.

Regarding the outlooks, as you said, it only takes one. So a lot of people have asked, you know, what’s what’s the value in doing these outlooks? Yeah, I kind of say, well, it’s a good exercise and in understanding the right and I imagine there there are other, you know, partners, if you will, that benefit like insurance companies. But who who else may benefit from doing these types of outlooks?

Yeah, I think you’re right. I mean, there certainly it’s a valid scientific effort because, you know, the more you understand about how the basin scale activity works on a season, you know, that may lead to better understanding of how things work on an individual storm scale. And then certainly, you know, utility in trying to predict these larger longer term seasonal the sub seasonal trends.

Yeah, there should be a tremendous amount of interest and overall hurricane activity in the basin from insurance companies to the maritime shipping industry. There’s so much commerce that moves around on the waters that, you know, are affected by potentially all hurricanes, whether or not they, you know, ever make it to land or not. So, you know, in just general situational awareness, you know, there is benefit in saying, hey, hurricane season is about to start.

Here’s what here’s what we’re looking at for this season. It’s again, it serves as a really good reminder and sort of a big messaging boost to say, hey, hurricane season is coming, here’s the outlook, here’s how you can use the outlook, here’s how you should use the outlook. You have to get into the details, use it the right way.

I mean, looking beyond the outlook, is there something in particular from a preparation standpoint that is concerning for you and this season in particular? Oh, every season you’re you’re worried about people being complacent. I think again, we’ve seen a tremendous migration of people in this country moving around the last few years. During COVID, after COVID, we’ve seen a lot of people moving to hurricane prone states from other places that may or may not be hurricane experience, may not know what the risk is.

I mean, I think that’s that’s always my biggest concern is that you go into hurricane season and people don’t know what the risk is, especially if you live in a storm surge prone area. If you don’t know, you live in a storm surge area and you might be asked to leave your home, then your whole preparation plan doesn’t work.

You know, you have to know now if you’re going to be asked to potentially leave your home in advance of a storm. So you can make that plan. Now, figure out where you’re going to go, how you’re going to get there, what you’re going to take with you, all those types of things that you need to figure out now.

And I think just again, the complacency and the focus on potentially too much focus on how strong the storm is from a wind perspective now, you know, we think we can have tremendous storm surge events from so-called weaker hurricanes that they’re big and slow moving, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, but also in other places. The rainfall threat, as I mentioned, has almost nothing to do with how strong a storm is from the wind perspective.

And those are the hazards that that really are the deadliest. And what we want to try to hit on as hard as we can. Yeah. Have you noticed any other kinds of long term trends in tropical cyclones slash hurricane development? And, you know, there’s a little of the research I’ve seen that shows that, you know, they’re holding their strength that farther north, their latitudes, perhaps that their their forward speed is beginning to slow down in the mean, which also lends itself to heavier rain and flooding.

Right. Do you see some of those trends even operationally? Or what could you speak to to those longer term trends? Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, in a warming climate, I think we’re most concerned about increasing risk from the water hazards we know that with sea level rise, we’re going to see more storm surge, worse storm surge and storm surge in addition, occurring and moving into places where it hasn’t been experienced previously.

And you think the sort of the best consensus now is that by the year 2100, in some places, storm surge in a nation will be 2 to 3 feet higher than it is now. So you’re going to have an increasing risk from surge, which puts more people in evacuation zones, which means you have potentially more people you have to move out ahead of a storm.

And the other thing we’re seeing is the heavier rainfall. We’re already seeing that in hurricanes and in non hurricane, extreme rainfall events are getting worse. They’re getting more frequent. We know a warming atmosphere holds more moisture. And it really has to do with how hot, how fast that rain falls in a given area and what the previous, you know, soil moisture conditions are, how that runoff, you know, plays into effect.

And we know that that’s going to be driving an increasing risk of rainfall, flooding as well. And again, rainfall, flooding is sort of the equal opportunity hazard. It can happen. And everywhere, you know, not just landfall locations, but hundreds of miles away, days after landfall and topography and urban areas. So that risk is is somewhat concerning. The other longer term trends are really less certain in terms of changes in storm intensity.

You know, how that will evolve in a in a in a changing climate. So we’re trying to keep the focus on those those particular water hazards where we are more confident in how those trends are going to play out. And Mike, as you look ahead at the next five, ten, 15 years, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the National Hurricane Center looking forward?

Well, I mean, I think we’ve got a few things. We’ve got an increasing risk and we have, you know, increasing population in hurricane prone areas so that even as our forecast are improving and they are the pace of growth, the number of people that we have to move, the amount of infrastructure along in hurricane prone areas is also increasing maybe even faster than the forecast or increasing.

So so we’re in a race, you know, against population trends and exposure. That is that is that we’re trying to keep up with. I think a lot of it is is again, messaging how do we get through to people about what the hazards are, How do we get people to take action? Because in many cases, the forecasts are good enough now with enough lead time for people to try to generally take protective action.

But we see that there are people you know, we know from social science, there are groups of people that are really hard to get to move. And, you know, when we see that play out in every event, you know, one of the great ironies is that the forecast information is so much better now, but people’s but the way people consume information is so much more complex.

We don’t know what messages they’re getting or they’re getting conflicting messages from a variety of sources. So we have to stay active in that space in whatever emerging communication trends and communication platforms that come up. And we can’t leave the old ones behind either. People still watch local television, people are on social media, people are on Twitter, Facebook, other platforms.

We have to meet them where they are and we have to keep expanding into those new areas so that we can keep our voice out there and help sort of the hurricane community, you know, have everybody focused on the same message. And and I think those are some of the challenges we face going forward. Yeah, communication is such a huge part of the story.

And before we wrap up, just stepping back a little bit, you know, I think for many meteorologists, I know we have a lot to listen to this podcast. I think a lot would say that perhaps their dream job is to be the director of the National Hurricane Center. So was this your dream job and how can you describe the experience that you’ve had over the last while taking over this role?

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a job I’ve been interested in for a while. So, you know, I’m not sure I ever thought I would get here. You know, when you start your career, you have no ideas about where it might go. And but, you know, things things worked out well for me. And I was in the right, you know, a lot of it just being having the right experiences and having being in the right place at the right time to to take advantage of opportunities.

But yeah, I mean, I’m just so excited to step into this role. There’s so many things that, you know, I’m so proud of the staff that I lead at the hurricane Center. We’ve got just got immensely talented people that work there, and they’re so dedicated. I think, you know, I think the National Weather Service in general has the best mission in all of government to protect lives and property.

It doesn’t get any clearer or any more motivating than that. And I you know, the Hurricane Center has such a huge piece of that when it comes to tropical storms and hurricanes. And we’ve seen that play out. So many times over the last few years. And, you know, we learned lessons. Things aren’t perfect. You know, there are challenges.

But I think we’ve seen our role make a difference so many times in these multiple landfalling events in the last few years. You know, it’s just a reminder of how important the work we do is. And that’s really motivating and inspiring and carries us forward into into the upcoming season. Yeah, no question about that, especially in this day and age with information all over the place.

You know, the staff of the hurricane of the Hurricane Center has been very consistent over the years. And I know as a member of the of the weather and climate enterprise, we’re very grateful for for the work that you and all the staff do there at NHC before we let we let you go because we know you’re busy, are there one or two other key messages you really want to drive home to the public, not just about the hurricane season in general, but things they really need to remember when they’re taking in a product from the hurricane center.

I’ve tried to tell people the cone is important. Yeah, but look beyond the cone cone is that everything? There’s other things going on. What other kinds of messages do you want to be sure to get out there? Yeah, that’s a great one. The cone is kind of like the cover of a book. It’s sort of a high level overview of where the center of the storm’s likely to go over the next few days.

But it’s not going to tell you about your risk from storm surge or rainfall or even necessarily tropical storm or hurricane force winds. There are lots of hazards associated with hurricanes. They’re complicated events and that’s what makes them challenging to communicate. You have different hazards occurring in different places at different times, and the scale and scope of those hazards can evolve during a storm.

So focus on the watches and warnings. Focus on what your local emergency managers or government officials are telling you to do in terms of evacuation and preparation. Listen to your find your trusted sources of information through the media, your broadcast meteorologists, your other, your other folks and the weather enterprise that you that you trust and make sure you’re connected to them.

The other thing I want to touch on is after the storm safety, we lose almost as many people do, fatalities that occur after tropical storms and hurricanes as we do during the storm itself. A lot of these are due to accidents, electrocutions, heart attacks, carbon monoxide poisonings from improper generator use, you know, power issues, heat related fatalities. So when you’re asked to evacuate in advance of a storm, it’s to keep you safe generally from storm surge, but it’s also to help keep you out of an area that might be completely devastated for weeks after where you’re not going to have emergency services, You may not have power or water or medical equipment to to take

care of yourself. And a lot of these indirect fatalities disproportionately affect older people who may have mobility or health issues that that make them less resilient in the face of the aftermath of a significant hurricane. So we want people to stay safe after the event. We don’t want to lose them. And in those days and weeks after the storm, for sure.

Mike, thank you so much. Before we let you go, working people find the hurricane Center online. Get real easy. Hurricanes, dot gov. That’ll get you to the National Hurricane Center. If you go to, that’ll get you to your local National Weather Service office that we partner with to get the messaging all the way from the storm scale down to your community.

So that’s that’s where you can start to to search for information. Thank you, Mike. Good luck this season and good luck with everything out there today as well. And take care. Thanks, John. Think about wow, that was a lot to get into. And we did it in less than half an hour, which is a small miracle. But I’m so glad he was able to touch on the communications aspect.

He was able to talk about why these hurricane outlook outlooks are important. You know, the climate impacts, the real world impacts of the storm. And, you know, and this is something I hadn’t thought that much to to discuss in my external communications map. But after the storm, how many people get hurt after the storm? I you know, I guess one of the things I thought of intuitively, but but I don’t talk about.

Well, yeah, you know, I think there it often does get overlooked. So it doesn’t surprise me that you brought that in because, you know, we get people we so we’re so focused on getting people out of the way of the storm. And then after the storm passes, a lot of people who did get out of the way are very anxious to go back home, see what the damage is.

You know, what is the state of their house, get back there. But rushing back in after a devastating landfall or a hurricane or even if it’s not that big of a hurricane, technically, maybe it’s just a tropical storm that was over the same area and a lot of flooding. Think of all the flooded roads that are left behind.

You really don’t want people rushing back in because it does lead to injuries. It does lead death. So, yes, it’s the aftermath and the recovery from it as well. You know, the one thing that that stood out to me and I thought it was so great, you know, with the discussion about the forecasts going, the one comment he made is that the forecast cone is the cover of the book.

And I thought that was that was just a perfect way to phrase it, because the cone is not everything. Yes, it’s probably the biggest thing. It’s what you see the first and what everybody wants to see. But boy, there are a lot more details when you even just just glancing at the cone, there’s a lot of details just on the cone.

But then it’s really going beyond the cone and all the impacts that are not explained on the cone. And so really, that’s why I don’t want people just to think they see the cone and All right, I know what’s going to happen. It’s like you need to get into the details and find out all the information because you’re not going to get everything from the cone.

There are a lot of details that need to be ironed out. So it’s always like the cone is just part of the story. Make sure you get all the details. Yeah, I’m probably going to start to steal that line from him that it’s that it’s like the cover of the book. And you can’t judge the entire book by the cover.

There is so much more to dig into. I think that is something we’re going to see more and more as we go in the decades to come is as our forecast ability does get stronger to be able to resolve these finer structures within the hurricane. Because as you know, and we saw this with Ian last year that are one side of the hurricane, even if you’re within ten or 20 miles of the eye wall is very different than the other side of the hurricane.

You know, you’ve got an offshore wind versus an onshore wind and the impacts are very, very different. So we have to remind people it’s not a point. All the impacts are not within 20 miles. It’s a beast. It is just the cover. This is just a starting point. We pay attention to all the impacts that come with storms like these, you know?

Well, you know, the other thing I think that’s worth mentioning is that the 2023 hurricane season is already underway because there was a storm in January. It was just re identified. They did a post analysis, the National Hurricane Center identified a storm on January 16th that actually impacted Newfoundland and Nova Scotia with 60 mile per hour winds. Well, it turns out that was a subtropical storm.

So we’ve already even though it didn’t get a name, it’s already our first storm, the season. So we’re already sitting at one storm watch already. So our first named storm is going to be Arlene. But technically when Arlene comes around, it’s going to be the second storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. So it’s no more about, well, when hurricane season starts.

No, it has officially begun. We’ve already had one storm. Yeah. And we remind people that even though hurricane season season starts on the 1st of June and goes into November, they can and do occasionally come outside of the season. But the core of the season is mid-August to mid-October. That’s when you really need to to bring your awareness up to its its highest level is during that 8 to 10 week period there in late summer and early fall.

Okay. So with that, we’re going to close up shop for this week. Big thanks to Michael Brennan for taking time with us, the director of the National Hurricane Center. We’ve got a few more things coming up in the pipeline. I know Joe’s not here, but I got to plug his dog eating contest. So we’ve got that working. We also talked to Mike that is here in Richmond about sports betting and and especially baseball to a lesser extent football weather.

We’re working on a couple of other climate e things I’m hoping that will come through more on those coming up hopefully next week or two but for right now Matt Holiner is in Chicago, meteorologist Sean Sublette in Richmond, Virginia, thanks for joining us for the Across the Sky podcast.


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