Coming into the 2016 Hurricane Season, Florida has been on something of a lucky streak. It’s been 11 years since a hurricane has made landfall in the state but experts say this could be one of the most active storm seasons since 2012.
The forecast does not specify whether these storms will make landfall but U.S coastal areas are especially vulnerable because of their topographical makeup and heavy population concentrations.
Hurricane Season lasts just a few months, but it's on the mind of Florida's emergency managers all year long.
On this week's edition of "Florida Matters," Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Jeff Huffman spoke with Bryan Koon the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Koon said making sure Floridians are prepared for hurricanes includes helping them understand how choosing to not have flood insurance coverage may affect them after a storm passes.
While we discovered why some people choose not to have flood insurance, Florida insurance leaders said the state of Florida’s property insurance market is good. But as Florida prepares for a new hurricane season, prices are starting to go up. As Florida Matters’ Lynn Hatter reported, at least one insurance official is warning of a perfect storm of issues that could hurt the state if a major hurricane hits.
Elsewhere in the program, we learned more about “hurricane hunters.” The information they collect helps with forecasts and evacuation orders. The planes are housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, but not for long. The base is evicting them. As Florida Matters Topher Forchez reported, NOAA is searching for a new home for their planes.
The U.S. averages between 1 to 2 hurricane landfalls each season. However, the number of landfalls has been much below average in the last decade. The last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Wilma on Oct. 24, 2005. As Florida Matters’ Ryan Benk reported, state emergency manager’s are concerned residents might not prepare for the worst as hurricane season starts.
And Florida Emergency Management has been scrambling to improve their severe weather alert systems ahead of hurricane season, pouring 12 million dollars into a 40 month project. As Florida Matters’ Marie Edinger told us, there’s still a long way to go.
Finally, Florida’s population along the coast has boomed in the eleven years since the last hurricane hit. As Florida Matters' Catherine Welch reprter, that combined with miles of construction on major highways could make evacuating ahead of a storm an even bigger headache this hurricane season.