2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

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2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#1 Postby WeatherEmperor » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:40 pm

Now that the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season is "officially" over, I thought I would create this thread to reflect on and provide lessons learned from this hurricane season for the ages. For me personally, there is a lot to reflect on and a few things I learned that I could apply for future hurricane experiences.

REFLECTIONS:

In the summer of 2016 I flew to Houston to attend my brothers graduation from medical school. I also used the opportunity to look at a few neighborhoods for a potential move to the great state of Texas. While I did not fall in love with Houston, I did like what the city had to offer and left pleased. 1 year later, Hurricane Harvey devastated the city. On Labor Day weekend this year, I visited the beautiful city of Naples, FL with my wife and young daughter. Once again, I used the visit as an opportunity to look for neighborhoods for a potential move to Naples if Houston did not work out. 10 days later Hurricane Irma devastates the area. While Irma was doing that, my family and I evacuated to Orange Beach, AL. As you guessed, I used my time there as an opportunity to look around at what Alabama has to offer. 1 month later, Hurricane Nate does damage in the area. My 3 visits to 3 different places all resulted in the strike of a hurricane in those places. I am sure it was just a weird coincidence but wow 3 times? Kinda weird isn't it? :roll:

When Harvey hit TX, my heart just sank. My brother lived all by himself with no family whatsoever to call upon for help. I came sooooo close to jumping on an airplane and somehow finding my way to TX to help him. The water rose high enough to get into his condo. Fortunately, his neighbor on the 2nd floor was kind enough to offer him space if it came down to it. My family and I were stuck in South Florida unable to do anything to help him. Fortunately, he found a way out to get to safety while waiting for the waters to recede. This feeling of helplessness is something I will never forget and hope to never experience again.

My wife and young daughter were asleep at 12:30am September 4th in our hotel room in Naples, FL. I was sitting on the living room couch with my iPhone glued to tropicaltidbits.com and Storm2K. I watched the GFS, UKMET, Canadian, Navgem and finally the Euro. For the first time in 25 years I felt fear (those of you in South Florida for that long know what I am talking about). All the models were honing in on sending a Cat4/5 monster near South Florida. I saw my parents later that morning in Pembroke Pines and they had the same fear. A hurricane more powerful than Andrew was likely to hit us and move straight up the spine of the state of Florida. On September 7th we had a family meeting to decide whether to evacuate or stay. Staying would be safer because our house was built after Andrew and was up to building code. We have food/water/gas for 2-3 weeks if necessary. It is too dangerous to get stuck on the highways evacuating with millions evacuating. Evacuating would be safer because if the storm hit us head on...there would be nothing left. Businesses would be closed indefinitely and we would have to fend for ourselves in a war zone with potential looting and other post-storm headaches. What about my 3 year old in a house with no electricity...in this summer time heat? I wanted to stay because I felt the eye would go near Naples...which it did but if I was wrong and Irma came in just 25 miles further east we are in big trouble. What the heck do we do??? At 2pm my dad says "f*#&@ it we are going to Alabama". 6 hours into our evacuation drive the model consensus shifted away from SE Florida and focused on SW Florida as the landfall spot...but it was too late to turn back. It took us 23 hours including stops to get to Alabama and 21 hours to get back home...

Maria did not affect me directly, but I will never forget the panic from some distant friends living there. They were panicked and almost did not know what to do because they decided at the last second they wanted to leave. They hunkered down and survived. It was unreal seeing Harvey, Irma and Maria unleash their fury on mankind they way they did.

LESSONS:

For Irma specifically, I learned that even though I was right about the storm not being a direct landfall in SE Florida therefore wanting to stay...if I ever feel this weird tingle in my body, I will just pack up and leave without hesitating. That is also my advice to anybody on Storm2K. We have the benefit of knowing more than the average person about hurricanes...but don't ignore your inner feelings. If your "spider sense" starts tingling just pack up and get the hell out. Despite the fact that Irma never caused the damage it could have, the fear it caused when it was still a 185 mph Category 5 bearing down on Florida and expected to run up the entire spine of Florida was something nobody had ever seen before. That FEAR and that EXPECTATION was absolutely unreal! Lastly, another lesson I learned is to always care for each other. I am so proud of how the TX, FL and PR communities came together to help each other out post-storm. We argue from time to time on Storm2K...but we are family in some ways because we care for and look out for one another. I am a bit teary eyed as I am writing this...but I am so damn proud to be a member of the Storm2K community. I hope my experiences will strengthen my contributions to Storm2K because the advice and information I post one day could help somebody in another location deal with a natural disaster.

Guys, please share your thoughts and feelings about the 2017 season because I know it affected so many of you.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#2 Postby johngaltfla » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:19 pm

Lesson 1: NEVER marry a woman from up north who is not used to Florida heat when the power goes out (JUST KIDDING!).
Lesson 2: When she says she wants a generator, get one, just for the peace and quiet.
Lesson 3: If you DO NOT KNOW the capabilities/capacity of your home to take a hit either glancing or direct from a storm, folks, get out. You can replace everything else. Irma was enough fun for me for a week and hopefully the Atlantic is quieter next season.

Good luck to all and Merry Christmas to everyone! :sled:
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#3 Postby Andrew92 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:01 pm

Mark Sudduth of hurricanetrack.com posted a fantastic video recapping the season as well as a lot of important lessons to take from this hurricane season. It's not quite an hour long and well worth every second to watch it when you have the time.

In any event, I am biased as I had a working theory coming into this season that I knew would be tested. It was two years after the last traditional El Nino event, which since the 1950s has always proven to generate one powerful, potentially destructive hurricane reaching somewhere in the US. It unfortunately came to pass yet again this year with Harvey and Irma. Maria added a wrinkle with Puerto Rico, so I need to be clearer on my definition: I mean the mainland when I give this theory, and not necessarily our Caribbean territories.

There is one very important side-topic to mention though as I repeated that theory before we approached the peak time. No hurricanes had formed before August. Most people to their credit remained vigilant and knew it could still be a matter of time. But a few people did start thinking the season was on its way to being a dud, if not one already. My theory does not state a bad storm has to hit the US early in the season. In fact, in only one such year since the 1950s has it happened (2005, with Dennis and almost with Emily too). Even in these seasons, the worst still are more prone to hit closer to when storms are already at their worst in most years to begin with. The next time we have one of these "sweet spot" years (think maybe most likely 2020 or 2021, and forgive me if that's inappropriate, but I couldn't think of a better term, and hopefully you know what I mean), nobody who lives in an area that can take storms like Harvey or Irma can let their guard down until it's all over. That should be a message even in a very quiet year like 1997, but it bears repeating, even if ad nauseum, in the first couple years after an El Nino event especially, even if it starts a little slow. Do I root for it to happen? Of course not. It's just the reality and odds say it probably will in those years. And I still can't predict that one such storm will sit around and produce catastrophic rainfall-induced flooding like Harvey did.

We will just have to see if 2018 lives up to the CFS predictions. I don't feel comfortable making predictions based on a model that was pretty far off the mark in terms of if we would have El Nino this year or not though. We'll probably have a much better idea shortly before the season starts - and no matter what June and July are like, always remain vigilant and prepared.

-Andrew92
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#4 Postby Kingarabian » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:47 am

Andrew92 wrote:Mark Sudduth of hurricanetrack.com posted a fantastic video recapping the season as well as a lot of important lessons to take from this hurricane season. It's not quite an hour long and well worth every second to watch it when you have the time.

In any event, I am biased as I had a working theory coming into this season that I knew would be tested. It was two years after the last traditional El Nino event, which since the 1950s has always proven to generate one powerful, potentially destructive hurricane reaching somewhere in the US. It unfortunately came to pass yet again this year with Harvey and Irma. Maria added a wrinkle with Puerto Rico, so I need to be clearer on my definition: I mean the mainland when I give this theory, and not necessarily our Caribbean territories.

There is one very important side-topic to mention though as I repeated that theory before we approached the peak time. No hurricanes had formed before August. Most people to their credit remained vigilant and knew it could still be a matter of time. But a few people did start thinking the season was on its way to being a dud, if not one already. My theory does not state a bad storm has to hit the US early in the season. In fact, in only one such year since the 1950s has it happened (2005, with Dennis and almost with Emily too). Even in these seasons, the worst still are more prone to hit closer to when storms are already at their worst in most years to begin with. The next time we have one of these "sweet spot" years (think maybe most likely 2020 or 2021, and forgive me if that's inappropriate, but I couldn't think of a better term, and hopefully you know what I mean), nobody who lives in an area that can take storms like Harvey or Irma can let their guard down until it's all over. That should be a message even in a very quiet year like 1997, but it bears repeating, even if ad nauseum, in the first couple years after an El Nino event especially, even if it starts a little slow. Do I root for it to happen? Of course not. It's just the reality and odds say it probably will in those years. And I still can't predict that one such storm will sit around and produce catastrophic rainfall-induced flooding like Harvey did.

We will just have to see if 2018 lives up to the CFS predictions. I don't feel comfortable making predictions based on a model that was pretty far off the mark in terms of if we would have El Nino this year or not though. We'll probably have a much better idea shortly before the season starts - and no matter what June and July are like, always remain vigilant and prepared.

-Andrew92


After what has happened for the 2017 hurricane season, the two-years-after-an-El-Nino statistic needs to have national attention and be factored in future hurricane season forecasts.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#5 Postby msbee » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:47 am

Lesson #1. Make sure your husband does indeed take down the satellite dish when you tell him to do it. #NoTVafterIrma
Lesson #2 Buy more than 2 cases of water
Lesson #3 Don't forget extra batteries...lots of them. How did I forget that?
Lesson #4 Don't ever live through a Cat 5 + hurricane ever again!
I am not sure I can actually complete Lesson 4 since I live in a hurricane area and there are high odds of this happening again.
St Maarten will take years to recover from Irma's direct hit.
I hope people will rebuild stronger buildings this time around. And I hope people in flood prone areas will just GET OUT!
and I hope our government will be more prepared to handle major disasters than they did this time.
I really don't want to have to do this again!
And I wish a speedy recovery to everyone who was subjected to the wrath of hurricanes this year.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#6 Postby Alyono » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:56 pm

msbee wrote:Lesson #1. Make sure your husband does indeed take down the satellite dish when you tell him to do it. #NoTVafterIrma
Lesson #2 Buy more than 2 cases of water
Lesson #3 Don't forget extra batteries...lots of them. How did I forget that?
Lesson #4 Don't ever live through a Cat 5 + hurricane ever again!
I am not sure I can actually complete Lesson 4 since I live in a hurricane area and there are high odds of this happening again.
St Maarten will take years to recover from Irma's direct hit.
I hope people will rebuild stronger buildings this time around. And I hope people in flood prone areas will just GET OUT!
and I hope our government will be more prepared to handle major disasters than they did this time.
I really don't want to have to do this again!
And I wish a speedy recovery to everyone who was subjected to the wrath of hurricanes this year.


you probably won't go through a cat 5 again. It may have been 1781 when the last cat 5 prior to Irma struck the Leewards
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#7 Postby blp » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:45 pm

In S.Fla I learned I was not prepared even if I thought I was. Hard to prepare for a Cat 4/5 when you live in an older house built to the older pre Andrew code. I guess I lived in denial about what could happen in a major hurricane and evacuation was not an easy option for me especially with pets.

FEMA has lots of good information about building a safe room which have proven effective in areas that are impacted by the most violent Tornadoes.

https://www.fema.gov/residential-safe-rooms

I am going to try to have a safe room built before the next season starts.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#8 Postby Kingarabian » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:55 pm

I got to watch Harvey, Irma, and Maria develop. Taught me to be eternally thankful that all the powerful storms that were modeled to hit Hawaii in 2015, did not materialize and instead were historic close calls. Seeing what these storms did to the USA and the Caribbean was eye opening.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#9 Postby TheStormExpert » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:51 pm

My HUGE mistake and lesson learned was calling "Season Cancel" in the middle of the July lull. Very sorry for those who had MAJOR impacts from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season!
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#10 Postby Blown Away » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:22 am

Being @85 miles on the right side from Irma’s center and still getting up to 100 mph gusts was not expected.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#11 Postby TheStormExpert » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:46 am

Blown Away wrote:Being @85 miles on the right side from Irma’s center and still getting up to 100 mph gusts was not expected.

Unlike with Matthew we were on the right side of a huge hurricane. Still amazes me knowing to that Charley (2004) likely went over or near the same area(s) on the west coast yet here in PBC we still had school and normal operating functions that day. Size matters!
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#12 Postby CyclonicFury » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:45 am

TheStormExpert wrote:My HUGE mistake and lesson learned was calling "Season Cancel" in the middle of the July lull. Very sorry for those who had MAJOR impacts from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season!

Yep, that's a big lesson to learn. July is usually an unfavorable month and 2017 was no different.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#13 Postby cycloneye » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:40 pm

Lesson learned from Maria for me is be prepared every season active or not as it only takes one storm to change your life for many years as I am enduring here in PR without power for over 100 days and thousands are still homeless.
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Re: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Reflections / Lessons Learned

#14 Postby TheStormExpert » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:07 pm

CyclonicFury wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:My HUGE mistake and lesson learned was calling "Season Cancel" in the middle of the July lull. Very sorry for those who had MAJOR impacts from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season!

Yep, that's a big lesson to learn. July is usually an unfavorable month and 2017 was no different.

Unless you’re like me and also got fooled by the long-track hurricane the former GFS kept portraying would happen after the 4th of July.
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