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By Robert Connors
Managing Editor 

Lake Wales Residents Should Remain Prepared for Active Hurricane Season

NOAA Official Says Season Still Expected to be "Above Average"

 

Last updated 8/4/2022 at 12:10pm

Courtesy NOAA

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center mid-season forecast, issued as we enter the most-active period for hurricane formation, suggests that 2022 will see an additional 11 to 17 more tropical cyclones. The season peaks about September 10.

While the 2022 hurricane Season has so far seemed quiet from our vantage point in Lake Wales, weather forecasters are warning that this is expected to be an above average season. The August outlook offered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reduced the expected number of storms only by one. That prediction now includes a total of 14 to 20 named storms, of which only three have occurred.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 until November 30, but the peak of the season falls on September 10, based upon long-term records.

In response to questions from LakeWalesNews.net, Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane season outlook forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, acknowledged that an anomalously-strong Atlantic high pressure area, often referred to as the Bermuda High, has been a factor so far this season, depressing activity far to the south. The most recent Atlantic-basin storm, in late June, skirted the coast of South America and entered the Pacific Ocean across Honduras.

The position of the high, sea-surface temperatures, and outbreaks of African dust crossing the Atlantic are factors in the long-term predictions, which do not include any outlook of landfalling storms in any particular location. The recent dust arrivals from Africa have helped to suppress storm development from that direction, but that process normally ends in July.

Rosencrans reminded us that the 2021 season also featured a long lull during July and early August, which led into a very active August and September averaging 2.5 active storms per week.

Despite its inland position far from coastal storm tidal surges, Lake Wales remains vulnerable to storms and hurricanes. Residents are urged to take steps to prepare early, while necessary stocks of supplies are available. Few residents in our area are likely to be called upon to evacuate their homes, but Lake Wales often hosts evacuees from coastal areas. Spook Hill Elementary is the only county-operated hurricane shelter in southeast Polk County.

Courtesy NOAA

The Atlantic Basin has often seen multiple storms and hurricanes simultaneously, as shown in this photo from a GOES satellite.

Once a storm approaches, items such as ready-to-eat and canned foods not requiring refrigeration, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, and plastic sheeting may not be available.

When a storm approaches, plan a means to store water for drinking and other purposes, as public supplies may become contaminated. If your source may be affected by power outages, fill bathtubs or other containers with water for flushing toilets, washing hands, or bathing purposes.

Charge cell phones and have an emergency portable radio available, and make sure that vehicles have adequate fuel to last several days. Dust masks and tools may be needed for clean-up work, along with a supply of fuel.

For a full list of suggested supplies, you may wish to visit https://www.ready.gov/kit.

 

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