Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay made a special appearance at Gulfport’s Catherine Hickman Theater on Thursday evening, May 26 to talk about preparing for the 2016 hurricane season, which began June 1.
Clay, who was the key speaker at the city’s annual hurricane seminar, said Florida’s biggest problem is “hurricane amnesia.”
“Florida hasn’t been hit in 10 years,” Clay said, “which is unheard of. And the U.S. hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane in 10 years, which is unheard of.”
Clay explains that after the busy 2004/05 hurricane seasons, bad weather was on everyone’s mind and they were preparing for it well. But now, he says, no one is thinking about it.
“We are in a hurricane belt. Sooner or later, the pendulum will swing and go back the other way and we’ll get very active again,” Clay said.
Clay says he does not know if that active year will be this year. He does not like to predict too far in advance for hurricane season. In the tropics, he says, they try to take it four or five days at a time.
“It wouldn’t be hard to be busier than last season,” Clay said. “But there are some indications that it might be busier this season than the last couple of years.”
There are multiple resources available to bay area residents to help prepare for hurricane season. One of the most comprehensive is Pinellas County’s website, pinellascounty.org/emergency, where you can also download the county’s 2016 All-Hazard Guide, or download the guide here.