Tropical storm expert encourages people to be ‘weather aware’ as hurricane season starts
A Virginia Tech meteorologist with expertise in hurricanes and tropical storms encourages people to prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1 in part by finding a trusted area weather source and paying attention to local weather alerts.
“During hurricane season, context is important,” said Stephanie Zick, an assistant professor in the College of Natural Resources and Enviroment’s Department of Geography. “For example, a weather app can tell you there is a 100 percent chance of rain, but it won’t tell you about the flooding threat or what to do when there is a simultaneous threat of tornadoes and flooding.”
“Trusted sources can provide valuable information that you will need to keep your family and property safe,” she said. “No matter where you live, I recommend that you have a trusted local weather source, such as a local broadcast meteorologist who you watch on TV or follow on Twitter.”
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday released their predicition for an above-normal 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
Zick said it’s important to remember that hurricanes have the potential to threaten both coastal and inland areas, as seen with Hurricane Ida in 2021.
“Many people think of wind when they hear the word ‘hurricane,’ but rainfall induced flooding is another significant hazard,” she said, citing National Hurricane Center statistics that show rainfall was responsible for 65 percent of hurricane-related deaths in the United States over the last five years, many of which occurred during Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The U.S. has recently seen multiple hurricanes undergo rapid intensification close to land, Zick noted.
“Hurricane forecasting models can predict these rapid intensification periods and give forecasters greater confidence when predicting these events that can be so impactful to coastal residents," she said.
“As with every hurricane season, it only takes one storm, and we should always be prepared and stay weather aware.”
Stephanie Zick is an assistant professor of geography and meteorologist in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. Her research areas include tropical meteorology, tropical cyclones, precipitation, numerical weather prediction, and model forecast verification. View her bio.
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