U.S.Tropical storm will likely miss Florida this weekend. But beach conditions may get dangerous.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1.
The system is forecast to remain well off the southeast coast and track farther out to sea. But dangerous waves and life-threatening rip currents will be possible along Florida beaches leading up to the storm, the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida, warned.
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said „it appears this system, should it form, will likely be lopsided with a considerable amount of dry air on its westward side, closest to the U.S., and showers and thunderstorms on its eastern side, over the Bahamas.”
Hurricanes in a pandemic: ‘Absolutely that’s our nightmare scenario’
Typhoon Vongfong approaches the Philippines
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a typhoon is predicted to wallop the Philippines over the next few days. The storm, known officially as Vongfong, is spinning a few hundred miles east of the Philippines.
Now with sustained winds of 100 mph, the system is equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said. Threats from the storm include flooding rain, mudslides, coastal flooding and damaging winds, forecasters said.
Widespread rainfall amounts of 4 to 10 inches are expected across the central and northern Philippines through Sunday, CNN said.
The typhoon, which could reach Category 3 status, is known as Alba in the Philippines.
Typhoons, which are the same type of storms as hurricanes, are tropical cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean north of the equator and west of the International Date Line.
What’s in store for the hurricane season? Forecasters expect ‘above average’ storm activity
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane season: How Tropical Storm Arthur may affect Florida beaches
Headed toward the Philippines, Typhoon Vongfong — the first named storm of the season in the West Pacific — has intensified over the last 24 hours.
The storm first formed on Tuesday, and has strengthened from a tropical storm with winds of 60 mph to the equivalent of a hurricane with sustained winds of up to 120 mph, CNN reports.
Vongfong is expected to make its first landfall on Thursday night in the Bicol region, and „very heavy rainfall, damaging winds, and powerful storm surge are all major concerns with this storm,” CNN meteorologist Tom Sater said. At this time of year, storms in the West Pacific often strengthen quickly because of warm sea surface temperatures.
More stories from theweek.com
Coronavirus will win. America needs to make a plan for failure.
Will the Supreme Court crown Trump king?
Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down governor’s stay-at-home order
Emergency managers pleaded with willful Floridians in 2016 to flee as Hurricane Matthew hurtled toward the East Coast with one infamous entreaty querying the supply of body bags to motivate stalwarts.
If a hurricane threatens this season, some evacuation requests may be replaced by stay-at-home orders as officials struggle to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said he will have a plan this month that outlines guidance for counties on how they may want to handle storms differently to contain infections.
Details could include requiring people in hurricane-fortified homes to stay put through a storm.
“If you have a Cat 1 or Cat 2 storm and your house was built after Hurricane Andrew, maybe we issue you a stay-at-home order rather than an evacuation order,” Moskowitz said during an April task force call about reopening the state. “Do we change the concept of evacuating at all?”
Sheltering in hotels instead of schools
With hurricane season beginning June 1, emergency managers are considering how they will juggle a tropical cyclone while avoiding a crush of people in shelters, crowded onto evacuation buses and in need of aid – already stretched thin – after a storm.
Some options Moskowitz noted could include using the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s transitional sheltering assistance program before a storm makes landfall to put people in hotels instead of opening schools where it could be difficult to maintain social distancing. The hotels may be eager for the business early in the hurricane season as the state wakes from its coronavirus coma, Moskowitz said.
Hurricane season 2020: The cone isn’t shrinking this year; what that means for forecasting
With an expected lack of volunteers coming from other states, Moskowitz suggested paying out-of-work Floridians to fill the void after a storm.
Hiring ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to ferry people out of harm’s way instead of loading them onto mass transportation, and issuing gas cards to residents suffering pandemic-triggered unemployment are also being considered.
“We might reach out to Uber and say we want to evacuate people car by car rather than putting them in a bus on top of each other,” Moskowitz said.
If power goes out, it may take longer to come back on
At the same time, Florida Power & Light is warning customers it may take extra time to restore electricity with the possibility of limited help from outside resources and the added precautions of social distancing.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said during the April call that housing for utility workers may be a challenge, especially if they are competing with evacuees for hotel rooms.
“Should a storm make landfall in our service area, we will be asking our customers for patience during these extraordinary circumstances,” said FPL spokesman Bill Orlove. “There is the possibility that customers will be out of power for an extended period of time should a storm affect us this season.”
Moskowitz’s hurricane proposals likely will be divided by early-season cyclones, which are typically weaker systems that would coincide with the stirrings of businesses reopening, versus those that grow during the tropically fertile months of August through October.
Moskowitz reasons early-season storms mean more manageable evacuations and recovery.
“As we get into August, maybe hotel rooms aren’t the strategy and we go back to mass shelters,” he said. “If you start getting to August and September and you are looking at a Cat 3 or 4, then the stay-at-home order isn’t going to be as effective.”
Major storms normally don’t threaten early in season … but there are signs this year
The 2020 hurricane season should get an early start this weekend. There was a 70% chance of tropical development near Florida and the Bahamas within the next five days, as of Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Since the system is forecast to remain well off the Southeast coast and track farther out to sea, it should not have any direct impacts on the Southeast coast, according to weather.com. But Florida will see rough beach conditions and increasing rain chances this week before the system forms Thursday into Friday.
In early summer, most storms form in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico as the atmosphere starts its seasonal wind-up. By August, the mid-level African Easterly Jet is beginning to spin waves off the continent like pinwheels that can ultimately form the strongest hurricanes.
While dozens of Category 1 hurricanes have bloomed in the first two months of hurricane season, just one major hurricane on record has made landfall in the U.S. in June – 1957′s Hurricane Audrey, which hit western Louisiana as a Category 3 on June 27. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or higher.
Hurricane Dennis made landfall southeast of Pensacola as a Category 3 storm July 10, 2005.
Five Category 2 hurricanes have hit the U.S. during June or July, including an unnamed 1926 storm that struck south of Daytona Beach on June 28.
The National Hurricane Center emphasizes that wind speed doesn’t always correlate with a storm’s danger. Massive Hurricane Florence in 2018 was a Category 1 when it made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Still, water roared 100 miles up the Neuse River, piling 11 feet of storm surge into the historic city of New Bern, N.C.
In Florida, evacuation zones are based largely on storm surge, not wind speed.
Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said early-season activity is the hardest to predict, but there are signs a flare-up is possible.
“Sea surface temperatures are often the limiting factor in formation of early-season tropical storms,” said Jeff Masters, Weather Underground co-founder and a meteorologist for Scientific American. “I expect that the warmer-than-average ocean temperatures currently being observed across the typical formation region for early-season storms – the Gulf of Mexico, Western Caribbean and waters surrounding the Bahamas – will increase the odds of an early-season storm this year.”
Storm-disrupting wind shear also is forecast to be low for June and July, bolstering the possibility for early storms, Masters said.
Separate shelters or segregated shelters? Virus makes it problematic
If mass shelters must be opened, evacuees may have their temperatures taken or undergo rapid coronavirus testing at the door. Moskowitz said the state is already working with Abbott Labs and others to get additional tests for shelters.
“Currently, unless you are medically unstable, it’s come one, come all to the shelters, which are there to save lives from storm surge, bottom line,” said Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson. “I’m not sure how pragmatic it will be to have separate Covid shelters.”
Johnson said people may be asked to go to segregated areas in a shelter if they have a fever or aren’t feeling well. Also, Palm Beach County shelters give each person 20 square feet of space, but that could shrink to allow for more social distancing.
“My biggest fear is that people who should evacuate won’t evacuate because they think there aren’t safe options,” Johnson said.
Then there are the “shadow evacuees” – people who leave even though they are not in an evacuation zone. During 2017′s Hurricane Irma, it’s estimated as many as 3 million of the 7 million who evacuated didn’t need to do so, clogging traffic arteries and piling cars up at the state line.
Johnson will not change evacuation zones because of coronavirus, but hopes people will understand the nuances of evacuating and evaluate their circumstances before doing so. If they aren’t in an evacuation zone and can survive without electricity, they should consider staying.
“I don’t believe evacuation is an innocuous activity,” Johnson said.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Coronavirus: Florida considers using hotels, Lyft during hurricanes
A woman who illegally entered Yellowstone National Park had to be airlifted to an Idaho hospital after she fell into a thermal feature and suffered burns.
The exact thermal feature was not released, but the term is used to describe hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and mud pots.
The woman was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital where she was treated for injures including burns, according to the Chronicle.
The park is located in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
Also on HuffPost
Gullfoss Waterfall 1
Gullfoss Waterfall 2
Gullfoss Waterfall 3
Kerio Volcanic Crater
Land between the continents
Icelandic horse pausing on lava field
Reykjavik from above
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.