Hurricane Dorian

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Photo Credit: New York Post

I thought I would share some information from Pam Knox about the hurricane and it’s potential impacts, she says; If you are feeling whiplash from all the media attention on Hurricane Dorian, you are not alone. Any potential for a big storm is going to bring out a lot of media attention, good and bad, and this certainly has the potential to be very bad. Here are a few of my thoughts while looking at all the content online.

  1. I love to look at spaghetti maps showing all the possible solutions for what “could be” the path of the storm. Of course you have to realize that most of them will never happen, but if you are someone who needs to know how bad it could be, the spaghetti models do tell you the envelope of possibilities. The important thing is not to focus on any one track but to look at both how they are scattered over time and space and how much they change from one set of runs to the next. Confidence grows when most of the models agree. Low confidence at the end of 5 days shows up as the wide “bulb” on the end of the cone from the National Hurricane Center, since at that point the center of Dorian could be almost anywhere in that circle.
  2. The timing of the storm hitting Florida (if it does) is going to be key to some of the impacts that will be seen. The slower the storm moves, the less certain we are about where it is going, because it is more subject to a variety of pushes from the atmospheric circulation and we don’t know which ones will be strongest. Another issue with slow storms is that they bring the wind and rain over the same area for a long time. I am sure the wind is bad enough, but for me the rain is worse because of the damage it can do on the ground. And of course the combination of wind and wet soil will push a lot of trees over, causing problems with power and roads, potentially for a long time if they are down over a wide area.
  3. Also, the slower the storm goes, the longer the impacts will be for somebody. If it slows way down, it may still be affecting areas along the East Coast for a week after landfall.
  4. Any time a storm hits the Florida peninsula, evacuations cause a lot of problems with traffic. Hurricane Matthew in 2017 followed a path right along the East Coast, driving waves of evacuees ahead of it filling up the interstates and using a lot of gas. Don’t be caught unprepared.
  5. Impacts from hurricanes can happen a long way outside the cone, it is still going to cause problems far away from the center. In particular, I think the Atlantic coast is going to be affected for quite a while by onshore flow around the storm. The onshore flow will also bring in plenty of moisture to form rain, and that can happen far ahead of the storm, so just because the storm is not near you it does not mean that you are not going to see impacts. One of the worst scenarios I saw today (from a single model, so hopefully not too likely to happen) was for the storm to amble slowly up the East Coast, dropping up to 20 inches of rain on the coastal plain of Georgia and South Carolina over the next ten days.

As for row crop farmers:  if you do experience damage to your crop contact your local crop insurance agent or FSA office as soon as you can.  Take pictures of damage, do not burn debris, and delay cleanup until it has been assessed by an FSA representative or crop insurance agent.  You must notify your crop insurance agent within 72 hours of a loss before abandoning the crop.  A declaration of loss must be written and signed within 15 days.  Also, track cleanup related expenses.  However, if there is a salvageable crop in the field, it should be picked, or this will county against your established yield.  We still have a lot of time before we know for certain how this will affect our area, and hopefully it doesn’t, but if you have questions about how to prepare feel free to call the Extension Office or access online resources. Be safe this weekend and coming week!

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