2017 Hurricane season begins

Posted at 7:06 AM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 22:00:54-04

Thursday officially begins the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.



Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have several new maps they are rolling out this year to give a better warning when a storm is heading your way.

RELATED: Hurricane Guide | Tax free supply weekend

Chief of Forecasting Operations James Franklin says it's the most significant rollout of new tools in a long time. "Our cone graphic, which sometimes folks misinterpret, will now show the size of the storm on there."

Another map will give people a better idea of when they need to be ready.  

"We're calling it the 'be ready by' graphic,' it gives folks a nice visual tool determining when they need to get their preparations completed by," Franklin said.

The center can also now issue advisories for systems before they become depressions.

But Franklin says the biggest change is the new warning for storm surge, which he says is the hazard that can kill the most people.

"The response to storm surge is different than the response of wind. People need to get out of the way of water, generally hide from the wind," he said.

The National Hurricane Center has some new tools for forecasters themselves to help improve forecasts over time. In addition to a new model, they also have a new satellite.  

"We have GO16 (satellite) which is going to give us dramatically, already giving us dramatically sharper imagery, much more data from the hurricane and surrounding environment," Franklin said.

Governor Rick Scott and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly held a news conference at the National Hurricane Center to encourage people to get prepared.

"A once in a lifetime storm can happen at any time, in any year. We can't stop hurricanes but we can prepare for them," Secretary Kelly said.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center expects this hurricane season could be above normal. Forecasters say we could see between 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes.

They say part of the reason for the increased tropical activity is a weak or non-existent El Niño.

The hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30.

Starting Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 4, hurricane supplies will be tax-free in the state of Florida.