ORLANDO, Fla. – To kick off the 2020 hurricane season, News 6 hosted a live chat with meteorologist Jonathan Kegges to answer viewers’ storm-related questions.
The hourlong chat was held at 7 p.m. during News 6′s on-air hurricane preparedness special on June 1, the official start of hurricane season.
In case you missed the chat, here are some of the questions Kegges answered, with help from ClickOrlando.com’s Brianna Volz, who also moderated the live chat:
Q: What is the record for the number of named storms in one hurricane season?
A: The record is 28, set back in 2005. The science is very sound. We can forecast the season by looking at the big drivers such as El Niño or lack thereof.
Q: Do storm experts ever put guesses on which areas have the highest percentage of landfall for an upcoming season? In short, is Florida expected to get hit this year?
A: They do...Colorado State has started doing this based on previous seasons or analog years. They have forecast a higher percentage this year for an East Coast landfall.
Q: Is the Atlantic Ocean warmer right now than average?
A: It is! And is one of the reasons for the above-average forecasts.
Q: If I have a generator, should I wait until the power goes off to plug my appliances into it and start it up (after I have made sure that it is working) or do it before the storm gets too bad? Is it best to cover your generator with a tarp or plywood if it is out in the yard and away from the house?
A: We talked to an expert to put together this step-by-step guide on how to safely use a generator. It has all the information you’ll need from shopping for a generator to how to safely store, connect and use one. The video at the top will also walk you through the process: bit.ly/2MkO7mW
Q: What is the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning?
A: Watch vs. Warning: Basically in any storm, a watch means to do just that -- watch. A warning means you need to take action. For a hurricane watch, that means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours and preps should be completed.
Q: When do I need to board up my windows?
A: There is no set wind speed that breaks a window, but a good rule of thumb -- especially along the coast: When a hurricane warning is issued, that would be a good time to do it. That is when sustained winds are expected to be greater than 74 mph. Windows can definitely break at slower speeds if an object is blown into them.
Q: Because of the pandemic, will they be having more shelters and what about people like me that have a dog will I still get to go where I always go?
A: The pandemic does shake things up a bit. Your shelter options this year will vary based on where you live. Go to ClickOrlando.com/hurricane and look for your county in our county-by-county resources section. That is where you will find all the latest shelter information specific to where you live. If you’re curious about other ways the pandemic is expected to impact hurricane season, here’s what an expert has to say about it: bit.ly/36QX00P
Q: Can you explain El Niño and La Niña and how they impact hurricane season?
A: Sure. In a nutshell, El Niño brings increased wind shear to the Atlantic and suppresses tropical systems. La Niña is the opposite and enhances the season. We are in the middle this year.
Q: What type of extension cords are correct to use with a generator?
A: It depends on the generator. It should have that information on the generator itself.
Q: Why will the current depression in the Gulf get a new name if it already had one?
A: It’s because it was in the Pacific and crossed basins. If it would have remained a tropical storm over land and reemerged in the Atlantic it would have stayed Amanda, but since it fell apart it got its Atlantic name.
Read more: Tropical Storm Cristobal forms in Gulf
Q: What is the “dirty side” of a storm and how can we identify it?
A: The dirty side is always the right front quadrant -- the most dangerous part of the storm. It has the most powerful winds and is the most likely source for tornadoes within the storm.
Q: I am totally new to Florida and am debating what I need to do in regards to pet preparation. Someone told me that hurricanes actually last only a few hours. Is this true or do I need to prepare a place in garage for doggie relief...a kiddie pool or whatever?
A: They can last a few hours up to a few days. That’s just the storm itself. Impacts could last up to two weeks depending on the intensity of the storm -- downed trees, power outages. It may be good to have that area set up prior to the storm in case it is a longer duration storm. Most storms do last more than a few hours, however, so I would be prepared for that.
Q: What are the chances we have a record-breaking hurricane season? I’ve heard a lot about this season being set up to have a record amount of storms form.
A: I love this question because it gives me a chance to warn not to believe some of the hype on the internet. This would be one of them. It is important to have a reliable source this time of year -- hopefully News 6. Anyway, an extremely active season is forecast by most of the respected forecast outlets, including the National Hurricane Center (13-19 storms). The record number of storms is 28, set back in 2005. While it’s possible -- I’ll never say never when it comes to weather -- it is unlikely. Twenty-eight storms is an insane amount of storms and extremely hard to beat. It’s possible we go over the forecast number, but the record will be very hard to beat. The next busiest season had 20 named storms.
Q: What’s the best time to get ready to leave for the storm and what to bring with you?
A: For timing, you want to listen to your local officials and of course the forecast from News 6. Every storm is different. News 6 Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steve put together a list of items you should never leave home without.
Q: News 6 shows hurricanes as spinning counterclockwise as if it was soapy water going down a drain. You speak the wind speed at heights of 50,000 or 60,000+ ft. I’m wondering how far beneath the water surface does that wind effect? Does it endanger coral or sea life or submarine if in area?
A: So large brought on by strong surface winds can damage the reef, but with the big waves it brings up cooler waters, which can help the reef. It’s a catch 22. Great question! The submarines, I think, would get out of the way prior.
Q: Is there anything that can be done to prevent losing the skirting at the bottom of a mobile home?
A: Here is some information you can use to make sure your home is hurricane-ready, though if you live in a mobile or manufactured home, you might plan to shelter elsewhere in the event of a storm: bit.ly/36SSTl5
Visit ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane for a list of county-by-county resources and other tips to prepare for the season.