Getting Better: Central Florida’s Wild Weather

Ready for hurricane season? Didn’t think so (but we got you covered).

Orlando – June 1 is the beginning of hurricane season and as the date approaches, the anxiety level of Floridians usually begins to rise.

“When there’s a system coming in this direction, we don’t want it,” this week’s guest on “Getting Better with Kirstin O’Connor” said. “We don’t want to be away from home, we don’t want to sleep at the station.”

Sleeping at the station? Yes, for journalists in Florida during hurricane season, that’s a thing.

News 6 meteorologist Jonathan Kegges and morning show anchor Kirstin O’Connor kicked off this week’s new episode of GBWKO with a discussion about weather in the state (be it severe storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes) and addressing a common misconception by audiences when it comes to out-of-the-ordinary weather: meteorologists love it.

They don’t, especially hurricanes.

“The science of them [is] cool,” said Kegges, but he quickly added, “they can stay out to sea. Believe me, when there is a storm coming down, it changes our lives dramatically.”

Just like you and me, News 6 meteorologists are members of our community. They work in the community, shop in the community, and are part of the fabric that makes Central Florida, well, Central Florida. No one wants to see a community ravaged by severe weather, especially when it’s a place you call home.

And do staffers really camp out at the station? Yes — while the news is going on downstairs during hurricane coverage, some employees are catching some shut-eye in the sales offices upstairs. During a storm, it’s all hands on deck, and it’s safer to keep everyone in the building instead of having people drive back and forth to the station. O’Connor may have had the quote of the day during the show when she said: “I thought that was a really special part of becoming a Floridian when I moved here about seven years ago.”

But back to the task at hand: Florida is a magnet when it comes to hurricanes. Over the last 171 years, 36 major storms (Category 3 or higher) have made landfall in the state (see the list below).

In 2021, the U.S. had 21 named storms, seven of which were hurricanes and 4 of which were Category 3 or higher (considered a major hurricane). Florida was hit by three storms in 2021 (Elsa, Fed, and Mindy). All of the 2021 Florida storms were minor (they came ashore as tropical storms) despite 2021 being the third-most active hurricane season on record.

“Prepared, not scared,” Kegges told O’Connor. “We’re here to break down the science…to let you into our weather center, to let you know what’s going on.”

So, consider this a message to all Floridians: It’s never a matter of IF Florida will be hit by a storm, it’s just a matter of WHEN and HOW INTENSE the storm will be.

News 6 Getting Results will be presenting our annual hour-long hurricane special on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. to help our viewers prepare for the 2022 hurricane season.

Meanwhile, click on the video above to watch the GBWKO conversation with Jonathan Kegges.

About the Author:

Donovan is WKMG-TV's executive producer of digital enterprise