Hurricane season safety tips

Published: Jun. 1, 2016 at 10:00 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2016 at 9:43 PM CDT
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photo credit: WDAM
photo credit: WDAM

PINE BELT (WDAM) - With the start of hurricane season, national hurricane experts want to give people the most accurate forecast for hurricane warnings.

They use equipment like satellite imagery to determine where to send their airplanes.

This data helps them determine when to send warnings and advisories for people who will get affected.

"The aircraft forecast tells us just how strong and how large the hurricane is, that really does get our forecast off to a much better start," National Hurricane Director Rick Knabb said. "There is a direct connection from the data in these planes and the brave men and women who fly into the hurricane and your personal safety because this data really does make us a more accurate forecast."

The people who help predict this weather are aircraft pilots like Douglas Gautrau.

He flies into storms to predict weather forecasts ranging from tropical storms to category 5 hurricanes.

These pilots fly into turbulent winds and have to go through survival and air crew training before getting certified.

Gautrau said alerting people about hurricanes is a rewarding job.

"Knowing that what we do, going out flying these missions makes a difference," Gautrau said. "We get to improve hurricane center forecast accuracy and it's very rewarding, but the most important reward is when the public reacts to those forecasts that the hurricane center provides."

National experts with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) want people to make sure they have a game-plan when it comes to evacuations.

Experts suggest you have another place to stay ahead of time if you live in an evacuation zone.

FLASH experts said common mistakes people make during the hurricanes include putting masking tape on windows and opening windows to relieve pressure.

"Masking tape is a waste of time and it misdirects you from the really fruitful things like boarding up," FLASH CEO Leslie Chapman said.

FLASH also suggests that residents buy flood insurance and look at their trees to see if they are in danger of falling on their homes during bad weather.

To learn more about how to prepare this hurricane season, watch WDAM 7's Hurricane special later this month.

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