EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 2020 hurricane season is here and off to a quick start.
According the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there is a 60 percent chance of an above average season.
An average season typically produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
This year, National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasters predicts 13 to 19 named storms in the Atlantic basin, and forecasts six to ten of those storms to become hurricanes and three to six to become potential category three or higher major hurricanes.
With an above average Atlantic basin hurricane season expected, Eglin personnel and mission partners should be prepared for an active hurricane season locally as well.
Eglin residents felt Tropical Storm Cristobal’s effects just days into this year’s hurricane season.
Even though the storm made landfall in southeast Louisiana, about 250 miles west of Eglin AFB, it produced 3.43” of rainfall locally, and wind gusts up to 37 knots. Additionally, waves of up to ten feet high and dangerous rip currents affected the local area coastline for several days.
“We don’t know if a big hurricane will affect Eglin AFB this year, but personnel and their families need to develop a preparedness plan now, said Lt. Col. Peery Sweat, 96 Weather Squadron commander. “Don’t wait for a strong hurricane to be approaching our area.”
The 96th WS team provides the specific details of any tropical system impacting the base and the surrounding area. To help provide necessary lead times, 96th WS forecasters monitor activity throughout the season, looking as far east as the African Cape Verde islands.
Closer to home, weather technicians watch for any possible tropical storm development in the Gulf of Mexico, specifically within 800 nautical miles of Eglin. The 96th WS team works in conjunction with the NHC to interrogate weather data and identify any potential threats to Eglin if a storm is moving its direction.
Once a storm is expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast, the 96th WS team generates impact forecasts tailored to their supported units.
Then, the 96th Test Wing commander considers the squadron’s forecasted impacts to determine the appropriate hurricane condition level. This is a time-phased alert system used to indicate the base’s response level for an approaching hurricane. Then a decision is made if a mandatory personnel evacuation is warranted.
For more information, visit Eglin’s hurricane information page.