Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Good Article About Jim Williams @ www.hurricanecity.com

Really wonderful article about a very good friend, Jim Williams, who knows his stuff. Believe me.

Honest :)

Very nice.. very true..
Bobbi
from Miami cloaked in darkness from dark clouds, flooding rains and occaisional thunder... moisture from the tropics, blowing kisses to Miamians reminding them that the Season is upon us. Wet sloppy kisses :)

Douglas Maher - All Headline News Staff Reporter

Hurricane Season 2005: A Look In To The Eye of The Storm

It has arrived. It is here.

Welcome to Hurricane Season 2005, also known as "Sigh Season". Sighing became an art form in the 2004 hurricane season whether it was watching countless hours and days of weather forecasts and releasing a long collective sigh at what was coming at Florida or sighing perhaps during the storms themselves. Maybe even sighing during the clean up or waiting for FEMA to arrive with a check.

Florida...Welcome to "Sigh Season 2005", where the names are different but the feelings remain the same.

A recent trip to "Hurricane City" headquarters in Delray Beach solidified the truth for all of us Floridians.Hurricane season has offically arrived and this season looks to be just as bad as last season, if that is not bad enough news for you then you probably will want to stop reading right here.

IT COULD BE WORSE THAN 2004

Oh yes. Let the introductions begin as you will surely be hearing the following names in the coming months from all of the local media and Jim Cantore on "The Weather Channel". Meet Arlene, Bret, and Cindy. They will be the first three named storms this year. They don't stop there as there is Dennis, Emily, and Franklin right behind them.

"Sigh"

Hurricane season is not bad news for everyone though. There is a rare breed of human species that actually lives and breathes "The Cane". One such person is Jim Williams, owner of HurricaneCity.com . Williams,(although not an offical meteorologist) has become one of the most respected men on the Internet when itcomes to Hurricane knowledge and forecasting. A quick glimpse into the studio where he runs the operation gives us a glimpse into the mind of a man whose passions for these storms is something of a science in itself.

" I never wanted to be an OCM" (On Camera Meteorologist),Williams said. "I find reporting weather on TV rather boring. I find connecting to the real people via the Internet or webcam or telephone before, during,or after a Hurricane is much more informative than what I am going to see on TV. I am into everything coming to a complete stop when it comes to the storms. I understand people pretty well and the one thing I have learned over the years is that people love to talk about Hurricanes. They love to talk about their personal experiences through a storm or after one, they all are truly interesting to listen to and discuss."

Williams' office is filled with tons of maps, multiple computers, a poddcasting center, and everything that a Pro-Amateur Hurricane Hunter could and should have at their disposal. Williams discussed his views on Hurricane seasons of the past, the present, and the future as if he was a NOAA Meteorologist from the National Hurricane Center down in Miami. But went on to be clear that his opinions and research were in no way to be taken as gospel.

This may be true but if history proves anything, it is the fact that Williams was almost dead on correct with his predictions for 2004 and that should be sending a chill up the spines of readers everywhere at this point. Why?Williams see's this season as not only being active for Florida but he has put Central Florida in his Top 5 of locations to be struck by a landfalling Hurricane this season.

"Research finds that Florida gets hit more in slow seasons. Where seasons that have say ten or less hurricanes Florida statistically gets slammed, last year being the true exception to this rule. Florida tends to get less in the way of Hurricanes in busier years where there are fifteen or more storms. However, the panhandle of the state tends to get in higher years where the rest of the state does not suffer as badly."

Williams' Top 5 list contains cities that he believes due to research are at a higher risk than usual to be struck in 2005. Those cities are ranked in order with number one being the Mississippi coast, 2.Elizabeth City, N.C.,3.Norfolk, Virginia, 4. Vero Beach to Melbourne, Florida, and 5.South Yucatan.

"A lot of Floridians are mistaken when they believe that since 2004 was such a busy year for Florida that it means we are off the hook for this year. It couldn't be further from the truth actually. There are plenty of cities through out history that had repeat years of 2-3 storms for 3 years in a row. Cape Hatteras, N.C. comes to mind immediately when historically speaking about consecutive hits. People would be foolish to let their guard down during any hurricane season let alone some silly myth that since last year was so busy, we couldn't possibly be cursed with another bad season like last years."

The truth is although Central Florida did indeed have plenty of damage from 3 of the 4 Hurricanes that struck the "sunshine state" last season, it did not experience anything above a weak Category 2 and in most cities a Category 1 by the time it arrived near them. The thought of what damage could be done if a strong Category 2,Category 3 or even Category 4 could do to the region is something that has yet to be even close in this area and statistics show that most in the area are not prepared for what could happen if a storm of that magnitude hit Central Florida.

" This is something I really wish for the media to become better at. I mean weather data today shows that winds were less at the surface than forecast to be last season. Ivan was only a CAT 2 technically but you could see all of this incredible damage that was done by the storm. That was not wind. That was all storm surge and that is something to keep in mind. When you see an OCM on television saying the winds of the Cane are at 140 mph, more than likely the storm has winds of 115-120 at the surface."

Williams continued-"We saw that with all of the storms last season, as we had people out in each of the Hurricanes videotaping and recording data through the storms. Hurricane Charley was brutal but he was no Andrew. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise."

"I agree with Dr. William Grey's forecast and NOAA's forecast this year. They are pretty similar to be honest give or take a storm or 2. El-Nino is not what people thought it was going to be 6 months ago and the oceans are already 3 or 4 degrees warmer in spots than they were last year at this time. That spells trouble early and often for not just the islands out in the Atlantic but the mainland U.S.A. as well. The "Saharan Air Layer" (the amount of moisture coming off of Africa), is wet this year and that usually means an active season for sure."

Williams' website offers forums for "Amateur Hurricane Hunters" to discuss satellite imagery, projections, and all kinds of science to do with Hurricanes that are active all across the globe. HurricaneCity.com was pounded last season for 2.5 million hits in just a 4 month span of time, a very impressive number for a website that is not linked to any official state websites or television networks.

There is a massive database of video footage of Hurricane seasons of old including tons of raw and exclusive footage of last season's storms including landfalling footage of Hurricane Charley where you can actually see Hurricane Hunters in the brunt of the storm and then in pure daylight when the eye of Charley passed over them, truly stunning material.



"I am bringing something new to the table this season." Williams added. "I am going to have live webcam broadcasts from the Carribean, all over the Gulf coast, and East coast of the U.S.A. and members of the site will be able to access any location that is going to be struck during the actual storm. Plus, I am linking up with actual hunters out there and they will be feeding me real time video that I will be able to stream live as well so it is going to be epic at times."

When asked what it is the media could improve on as far as public relations wise Williams expanded on many ideas that should be referenced for future consideration if facing a storm this season.

"I really want the media to talk about the things that happen to you during and after a Hurricane. I think they do a nice job of talking about Hurricane prep kits and all of that stuff, but they need to brush up on the important issues such as what it is going to be like in detail to have no power for a week or even a month, the damage that will be left after a hurricane, divorce rates after the storm, suicides, and other realistic issues that face people after these things hit."

Williams adds that:"They are quite devestating to everything in your life whether you know it or not at the time it is happening. The media has the tendency to calm the public and that is fine and all but don't baby us. People need the facts and sometimes the facts are not pretty."

"Everybody wants to be part of the the big media event and I can understand that.You have people who throw "Hurricane Parties" and think it is one giant rush to be involved in. There are people out there that we call "Wishcasters", who literally become obsessed while watching this huge event on TV and on the Internet for days and weeks at a time and go against all logic and actual numerical facts of a storm and start claiming things that just are not true and it's not just the amateurs who are guilty of it, it is the people on TV as well."

"You can see them widen their error cone to still keep the story alive, keep the fear going, wish the storm into their direction so they can experience it first hand. It's this big build up and then for it not to hit? Well, that is when you see their demeanor change like lightning. They become depressed and sad until the next storm hits because theywanted to experience this massive display of power that mother nature puts on and a lot of the time they are left with a storm that became a "Fish Storm", (aka a storm that goes out to sea), it is amazing to see human beings get this rush for destruction."

Williams believes Central Florida might be in a bit more of a danger zone this season due to the Bermuda High being weaker this year and storms should hit further up the coast versus southern where last years Hurricanes came from.

"1 Hurricane in 116 years for Vero Beach. That is a landfalling Hurricane I am talking about and 12 Hurricanes have come over or through Vero since 1871. I am concerned for this area for good reasons, not hitting the panic button but just saying historically speaking "we are due".

Jim Williams can be contacted at www.hurricanecity.com and live webcam and video tracking of hurricanes connected through www.hurricanetrack.com.

1 Comments:

At 3:25 PM, Blogger alena said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

 

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