Aug 25, 2016

Florida, Gulf Coast facing potentially dire hurricane scenario, but details unclear

The Bahamas
by
Andrew Freedman
,
Mashable
"Spaghetti plot" of forecast projections from computer models on Wednesday morning, August 24, 2016. Image: Weather Bell
"Spaghetti plot" of forecast projections from computer models on Wednesday morning, August 24, 2016. Image: Weather Bell

On Wednesday, a broad area of low pressure, accompanied by showers and thunderstorms, is sweeping towards Puerto Rico. However, it's what happens to this storm system after its encounter with the U.S. territory that is concerning weather forecasters and Gulf Coast residents from Miami to Brownsville, Texas.

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Given the near-record warm ocean waters in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, it's possible such a storm would rapidly intensify into a powerful hurricane before making a second landfall anywhere from Texas to Florida's west coast. 

No hurricane has struck Florida since 2005, and it's possible this one will end the state's lucky streak.

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It's prudent at this point to talk about the possibility of a significant hurricane hitting Florida, where there are at least 2 million more people now than there were in 2005, giving the state a significant hurricane amnesia issue that could complicate emergency preparedness efforts. 

There are now 307,245 more people living in Miami-Dade county alone, for example, compared to 2005.

Hurricane preparations take time, and at this point, residents of states including Florida need to start thinking about getting ready by gathering recommended supplies, developing evacuation supplies, and more