By Erik Salna
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a fast start. Four named storms have come and gone before the end of June. As a potentially busy season continues, a new educational video series is here to help people prepare for what is ahead.
Eye of the Storm is a 12-episode series that focuses on hurricane science, mitigation and preparedness. Developed in a partnership between the International Hurricane Research Center at FIU, Broward County Emergency Management, the City of Fort Lauderdale Emergency Management and the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) in Fort Lauderdale, the series looks to educate people about hurricanes and connect them with inspiring science. The series was sponsored by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM).
“This video series is a great way to learn about hurricane preparedness and prepare for all possible impacts before a storm makes landfall,” said FDEM Deputy Director Kevin Guthrie. “The division is proud to sponsor this informative series so we can help educate all Floridians on how to stay safe before, after and during a hurricane. We look forward to our continued partnership with the International Hurricane Research Center as we continue through the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.”
As of June 30, the videos have more than 250,000 views. Check out the full series here.
The Eye of the Storm is typically an in-person event at MODS, but it was canceled due to COVID-19. The videos were made as an alternative.
“As a STEM museum that has weathered many South Florida storms, Museum of Discovery and Science serves as a community resource to help people in hurricane-prone regions understand the science behind the storm and how to prepare. The Eye of the Storm series brings together local experts with the most up-to-date science and information to help keep families protected during storm season,” said Joseph P. Cox, MODS president and CEO. “Eye of the Storm features many exciting STEM professions, which spark an interest for children to pursue future careers.”
Topics covered in the video include hurricane supply kits, power and generator safety, insurance check-ups, pet and boat preparedness, shuttering windows, roofing, debris cleanup, evacuations, storm surge, hurricane forecasting, TV weathercasting and the importance of wind engineering research by the NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind at FIU. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters even show the audience what it's like to fly into the eye of a hurricane.
The series is unique in that each episode contains an interactive science demonstration highlighting the topic being discussed. Experts discuss their educational backgrounds and interesting STEM careers, allowing viewers to get a glimpse into their daily lives.
"I've wanted to be a meteorologist since I was very young. Even at 6 years old, I watched storms and recorded daily observations on a calendar,” said Ken Graham, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center. "To this day, I remain passionate about weather and our mission to save lives."
While a quick start to the hurricane season does not necessarily mean an above-average season, current oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic are favorable for hurricane development. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast is predicting an above-average season with 13 to 19 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes.
“The more our community is educated, the better prepared we all are. The Broward Emergency Management Division wishes to extend our deepest appreciation for the partnership and educational efforts of all the great partners involved with the Eye of the Storm program,” said Tracy L. Jackson, director of Broward County's Regional Emergency Services and Communications.
Other participants who made the video series possible include Broward County American Red Cross, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and Hurricane Research Division, NOAA National Weather Service Miami Office, Broward County Humane Society, International Hurricane Protection Association, Global Protection Products, Florida Power & Light, Advanced Roofing, Bergeron Emergency Services, Brown & Brown Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Techtronic Industries, Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, WSVN, NBC 6, Louisiana Children’s Museum and the Science Museum of Virginia.