Hurricane Season

Friday our First Coast Connect Media Roundtable featured Dan Scanlan from the Florida Times-Union, WJCT contributor Fred Matthews, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons and Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski.

Issues discussed included,

WestportWiki / Wikimedia Commons

With a sales-tax “holiday” starting next week, retailers are expecting big spending on disaster-preparedness supplies by Floridians who have fresh memories of Hurricane Irma.

NOAA

Forecasters with the NOAA Climate Prediction Center say there’s a good chance we’ll see a bumper crop of named storms during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

Seaman Michael Lopez / U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons

The Navy wants to make sure its families in Jacksonville are ready for this year’s hurricane season.

U.S. NAVAL RESEARCH LABORATORY/NOAA SATELLITE IMAGE / VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Florida Bar is trying to get the word out about a free, online legal service for low-income Floridians before hurricane season starts and storm damage becomes an issue.

Sherry Krol

Florida residents hoping to protect their homes from storms are running out of time to buy flood insurance before hurricane season.

Jessica Palombo

As the state prepares for the 2018 hurricane season, utility regulators might look at who dictates tree trimming.

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Florida Times-Union Tallahassee Bureau Chief Tia Mitchell (01:15) regarding her recent column regarding a rift between the Florida Democratic chairman and African-American officials and if the party takes them for granted. Local attorney David Ward and director of World Relief-Jacksonville Jose Vega (23:02) discussed the refugee crisis and the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the hold on President Trump’s travel ban. Servpro chief operations manager Chandler St. Peter (44:31) told us about environmentally friendly ways to prepare for hurricane season. 


       

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

 

Although it’s been 52 years since Jacksonville has seen a hurricane, city officials don't want residents to have a false sense of security.

Director of Duval County Emergency Management Steve Woodard was giving a tour of emergency headquarters downtown Wednesday, the first day of hurricane season.

NOAA

Few things are certain in our skies. But Thursday, Gerry Bell, lead forecaster from NOAA, says he is very confident in this year’s seasonal hurricane outlook.

Bell said, “The likelihood for a below normal season has jumped from 70% in May to 90% with today’s updated outlook.”

This is the highest level of confidence NOAA has ever had for a seasonal forecast since they started publishing them in 1998.

With Hurricane Season underway, Florida Emergency Management officials want residents to be aware of a program aimed at helping people with special needs during an emergency situation.

Duval County Emergency Management

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season started June 1, and forecasters predict it will be a quieter-than-average year, with six to 11 named storms.

Still, Jacksonville Emergency Preparedness Director Steven Woodward says it only takes one direct hit to destroy a house or a neighborhood.

And, he says, hurricanes aren’t the only natural disaster Jacksonville residents should prepare for.

“Even this past weekend we had some wildfire activity. We had a small tornado in April,” Woodward said.

The Florida House voted down an expansion of Medicaid on Friday. Lawmakers were called back into special session this month to try to come to an agreement on health care spending. The Florida Coastal School of Law’s Disability and Public Benefits Clinic has several clients affected by the “no” vote on Medicaid expansion. We speak with Clinic director Sarah Sullivan and law student Jenny Rose.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Aircraft from the United States Air Force Reserve’s “Hurricane Hunters” unit were at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine Thursday. The unit collects data in real time that is used by emergency managers and meteorologists to track storms and warn the public.  

The “Hurricane Hunters,” who are based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, fly a 700-ton cargo plane directly into the eye of a hurricane in the name of science.