Emergency teams, meteorologists review performance during last hurricane season

Published: Updated:

Back in September, WINK News met Cape Coral mother Whitney Copeland and her then-14-month-old daughter Avery.

Her family was packing up what they could and hitting the road before Hurricane Irma hit SWFL.

“This is the reason we’re getting out, one of the big ones,” she said.

With these families in mind, the National Weather Service and Hurricane Center employees decided to look back and review their performance during last year’s hurricane season.

“The weather service guys and gals, they want to know what we have learned,” said WINK News Chief Meteorologist Jim Farrell. “We are in direct communication with the residents, our viewers. And they take those lessons back to their offices.”

Monday’s meeting featured a conversation with SWFL meteorologists and Lee County Emergency Response teams. It was a big conversation, especially surrounding storm surge maps—tools used for the first time during Irma.

“There was a little bit of confusion once we got on TV with that product because it referenced the water height above the ground and a lot of us have been taught to think about the storm surge as the water height above sea level,” Farrell said.

Daniel Noah, with the National Weather Service in Tampa, says moving forward, they’ll likely change the way they explain the map, making it easier for viewers to spot any potential dangers.

“This is a collaborative effort,” Farrell said. “We can’t do our job without them and they can’t get the message out without us. So good talk today, lessons learned, improvements to come and we should all be better prepared for the next one.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.