(Gray DC) - Hurricane Dorian is packing life-threatening conditions as it pushes toward coastal communities along the East Coast, and the National Hurricane Center in Miami is busy tracking Dorian along with several other tropical storm systems.
The historic storm made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane over the weekend in the Bahamas, leaving behind devastating damage and killing at least seven with the death toll expected to rise.
“If a storm affects you, then that makes it a busy season for you, and that risk is still there every year,” said Michael Brennan, a branch director at the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters are putting to use the latest satellite technology and tools to predict life-threatening weather.
“Storm surge has the potential to kill the most people in the United States,” he said.
Brennan says preparation is the best weapon against storms like Dorian.
He urges residents – especially those along the coast – to have an emergency safety plan in place, listen to evacuation orders, and consider physically reinforcing your home.
“There are storms that can be hundreds of miles wide. The hazards can extend very, very far from the center,” Brennan said.
When asked whether climate change is driving these catastrophic hurricanes, Brennan points to his biggest concern.
“Sea levels are rising. That’s making communities more vulnerable,” he said.
Miami-Dade County projects that sea levels will be 14 to 26 inches higher than 1992 levels by 2060.
Chief Resilience Officer James Murley for Miami-Dade County says there are steps underway to buffer the region.
“We have to think about how high are the seawalls, how can we protect the low areas,” Murley said.
He and several neighboring local governments are part of a 100 resilient cities program to more closely coordinate long-term infrastructure plans.
The National Hurricane Center says it can provide life-saving information for you and your family, but it’s critical you also pay very close attention to what your local weather team is advising.
They also urge you to double-check your homeowner’s and flood insurance to make sure you’re covered in a natural disaster.