Hurricanes killed 68 people in the United States in 2021 and caused more than $165 billion in damages in 2022.
Experts at Colorado State University and NOAA say we can expect a slightly less active season. But even that statement has a caveat. “Over the last three years, we typically have had around thirteen named storms, eight hurricanes, and three major hurricanes,” said Meteorologist Spinks Megginson, who runs Red Zone Weather. Megginson says the goalposts have moved since NOAA changed historical data sets. Previously, the 30-year average for storms was based on data from 1981-2010. Now, it’s based on a data set from 1991-2020. That means the average number of storms has increased from 10 per season to 13 per season.
It also means we can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15 named storms, six to eight hurricanes, and two or three major storms.
“What I always tell folks, is, it only takes one storm to make it a memorable year. Take last year as an example of what happened with Hurricane Ian. It really was the only storm of significance to hit the continental United States. And it was a high end for hurricanes at landfall. And so even though it was technically a quiet year for the US, it truly only takes one to make it a memorable year,” Megginson said.
The simple answer is that it depends.
“It’s important to emphasize that everyone’s situation is different,” Megginson said, “If you are in a low-lying area prone to flooding, then obviously your threshold for evacuating or getting out is going to be obviously more sensitive than someone who is you know, even closer to the coast but may live in an area that is not nearly as prone to flooding, or that whether that be you know, saltwater flooding or farther inland freshwater flooding. I like to tell those is run from the water and hide from the wind. What we advise folks to do is pay attention and heed local evacuation. borders. And, you know, the number one thing with this is, of course, if you get any type of mandatory evacuation order, he wants to heed that warning. Unfortunately, over the years, so many folks have not heeded the mandatory and voluntary evacuations. And there have been bad outcomes associated with that. And so, you know, your question was, when do you get out? Certainly when you get an evacuation order, no doubt.”
Mid Bay News has compiled information and resources for you that are Niceville-specific and will help you know how to prepare and react to a storm in our area.
Essentially, you need to do the following things to prepare for a hurricane in Niceville, FL.
An easy answer, says Megginson, “The other thing that is not nearly as talked about as it should be, in my opinion, the number one natural hazard or will arise the number one killer of folks along the Gulf Coast is in terms of natural hazards that is rip currents. And, you know, every day in the summertime, it seems like there’s a rip current rescue along the Gulf Coast. And it’s mainly these out-of-towners, folks coming here from other parts of the country, that don’t have experience with the flag system. And with, you know, dealing with choppy waters and rip currents and that sort of thing. And the numbers are just astronomical in terms of the number of deaths that we’ve seen over the last several years. I mean, if you add all local lightning, tornado, hurricane, and flood deaths, it’s not even close to the number you get in terms of the number of folks who’ve lost a rip currents.”
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