National Hurricane Preparedness Week: Understanding forecast information

Writer: Lauren Kreidler
Published: Updated:

With less than a month to go until the official start of hurricane season, it’s important to be prepared for hurricane season by knowing how to understand forecasts.

The Weather Authority’s meteorologist Lauren Kreidler breaks down the information that becomes available days ahead of a storm and its importance to understand what it means.

Have trusted sources for storm information

Rely on official forecasts for storm information. The Weather Authority team will keep you updated on-air and online with the latest developments.

Our meteorologists work in conjunction with the National Weather Service to provide up-to-date information as soon as it is known.

Hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center access a variety of data (models, aircraft, satellite) to provide accurate information regarding storm development.

Ensure that you have Wireless Emergency Alerts enabled on your phone so that you can receive watches and warnings directly to your device.

Download the WINK Weather app to get the forecast in the palm of your hand. Search WINK Weather app in your app store and gain access to WINK Live Doppler 3X, Southwest Florida’s most powerful radar.

Know your alerts

There is a difference between watches and warnings.

In general, a “watch” means that impacts are possible. A “warning” means we can expect impacts.

A Hurricane Watch is issued to indicate that hurricane conditions are possible within a given area with tropical-storm-force winds beginning within the next 48 hours. Prepare by putting up hurricane shutters, moving loose and lightweight items indoors and make sure your emergency kit is ready.

A Hurricane Warning means hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area, with tropical-storm-force winds beginning within 36 hours. Seek shelter in a sturdy structure or evacuate if ordered.

Focus on potential impacts regardless of storm strength

It is important not to solely focus on a storm’s size or what category it may be.

The storm’s scale only tells you about the strongest winds near the center of the storm and does not tell you about potentially life-threatening flooding from storm surge or rain.

Impacts such as life-threatening storm surge, inland flooding and damaging winds can extend far from the center of a storm.

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