It was a little disconcerting to hear that Jim Cantore was coming to Tampa yesterday. He wasn’t here for the Bucs football game.
A respected meteorologist who correctly predicted that Hurricane Harvey would stall, reverse and leave historic rainfall and flooding in Texas, made the following prediction this morning about Hurricane Ian:
A cold front will move south into the Florida Panhandle, bringing much cooler air and also pushing Ian on a more easterly shift. Before last night, there was doubt as to whether or not the cold front would reach Florida, allowing the GFS model to steer Ian toward the western panhandle area (Panama City, Destin, Pensacola).
Starting this morning the cold front will move into the western part of the Florida Panhandle and the GFS and ECMWF track will converge near the Big Bend area of Florida. Of course, there may still be some surprises, but I am confident that Ian will make landfall between Alligator Point and Cedar Key Florida early Friday morning.
Hurricane tracks are notoriously unpredictable. One thing I tell everyone along the Gulf Coast is if a storm is to the south you have to pay attention to the storm track. Just a slight tilt a few degrees east or west can significantly change the impact of a hurricane. For example, Tampa was the dead center target for Hurricane Irma 24 hours before landfall. Then it wobbled slightly to the east and struck Naples. Tampa Bay was supposed to have a historic storm surge. Instead, it had a historic low tide with people walking on the bottom of Tampa Bay.
For everyone along Florida̵7;s Gulf Coast, constant vigilance is required. I also recommend the FEMA checklist for last minute preparations. The introduction to this checklist states:
When a disaster strikes, your immediate concern will be your safety and the safety of those you care about. Once the immediate danger is over, however, it will be critical to have your financial and medical records and important contact information to help you quickly begin the recovery process. Taking the time now to protect these important documents will give you peace of mind, ensure you have access to important medical and prescription information, and help you avoid additional stress in the difficult days after a disaster.
Also, take the time now to think about the priceless personal items you would want to protect from damage or take with you should you suddenly need to evacuate your home.
The first step is to take inventory of your household documents, contacts and valuables. The checklist below will help you get started. Then download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) at www.ready.gov/financialpreparedness for more complete checklists and guidance on how to collect and protect this important information.
Place a check mark next to any item that you may need to collect and protect. Be sure to include emergency phone numbers or other contact information with your documentation for questions that may arise after a disaster.
Pre-loss documentation of your home and contents is so much easier today because of cell phones that have video capabilities. Spending 10-30 minutes making a video of the condition of the exterior of your home and then of all the contents and interior can save a lot of time later. Such a video provides a before and after image for you and your claims adjuster.
Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation, failure is certain.