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Archive for October, 2013

Quiet hurricane season foils forecasters

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 31, 2013

Quiet hurricane season foils forecastersForecasters have already begun the process of determining why this year’s Atlantic hurricane season has been far quieter than expected.

“We’re racking our heads,” said Dr. William M. Gray, the atmospheric scientist who heads the hurricane forecast center at Colorado State University.

In April, CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicted 18 named Atlantic storms this year, including nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center also expected an active hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

The periodic climatic condition, known as El Nino, which tends to break up hurricanes with wind shear, isn’t around this year. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are high. And in West Africa, where the hurricanes often form, the monsoon season was strong, meaning plenty of moisture was able to move west off the continent and into the ocean. Taken together, conditions appeared ideal for a storms.

In late May, NOAA called for a 70 percent chance of an above average hurricane season and just a 5 percent chance of a below average season.

Through last week the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season had produced 12 named storms. That’s about average. But only two of the storms, Humberto and Ingrid, became hurricanes, and they never grew stronger than Category 1.

To date, the Atlantic basin has seen the fewest hurricanes since 1982, said National Hurricane Center Public Affairs Officer Dennis Feltgen. The last year in which no major hurricane formed was 1994.

The likelihood that one will form before the end of the hurricane season is scant, Gray said. There has not been a major November hurricane in the Atlantic region since record keeping began in 1851.

There’s no certainty as to the specific causes of this year’s surprisingly inactive hurricane season. But both Gray and Feltgen said an unusual amount of dry air from high in the atmosphere over the tropical east Atlantic has sunk into the lower altitudes where hurricanes form.

Gray said he believes a dearth of wind blowing up from the equatorial region off of South America also has led to less cloud formation in eastern Atlantic. Those clearer skies have paved the way for the descent of the dry upper atmospheric air.

Coupled with surprisingly unexpected wind shear, which breaks up storms, the drier air created a gauntlet in the east Atlantic that most storms couldn’t navigate, Feltgen said. Higher than usual amounts of atmospheric dust blowing off Saharan west Africa also helped keep the air dry.

Meanwhile, persistent low pressure over the southeastern United States has also led to wind shear in the western Atlantic, impacting development in that area.

Only in the southwest Gulf of Mexico have conditions been what Feltgen called “marginally favorable for development this season.” Five of the 12 named storms this year originated in that area, including Hurricane Ingrid.

Despite the early predictions for an active year, 2013 is on the verge of becoming the first year since 1968 that no Atlantic basin storm has even reached Category 2 status.

“You can pretty well say this season has been a bust,” Gray said. “We’re going to have egg on our face for a long time.”

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Better Business Bureau Accreditation

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 30, 2013

Better Business Bureau AccreditationIf a business has been accredited by the BBB, it means BBB has determined that the business meets accreditation standards which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB accredited businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB Code of Business Practices represents standards for business accreditation by BBB. Businesses based in the United States and Canada that meet these standards and complete all application procedures will be accredited by BBB. The Code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business’ products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business’ product quality or competency in performing services.

Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.

CAT 5 Hurricane Shutters has been with the BBB since the day we opened our doors for business. You can search through our file with BBB and see our great remarks. We strive on giving clients 110% satisfaction. We offer free estimates in all of South Florida and in the Upper Keys. Contact us on the web at www.cat5hurricaneshutterswpb.com or call us toll-free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE.

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How do hurricanes form?

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 29, 2013

How do hurricanes form?Hurricanes are the most awesome, violent storms on Earth. People call these storms by other names, such as typhoons or cyclones, depending on where they occur. The scientific term for all these storms is tropical cyclone. Only tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or eastern Pacific Ocean are called “hurricanes.”
Whatever they are called, tropical cyclones all form the same way.

Tropical cyclones are like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel. That is why they form only over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm, moist air over the ocean rises upward from near the surface. Because this air moves up and away from the surface, there is less air left near the surface. Another way to say the same thing is that the warm air rises, causing an area of lower air pressure below.
A cumulonimbus cloud. A tropical cyclone has so many of these, they form huge, circular bands.

Air from surrounding areas with higher air pressure pushes in to the low pressure area. Then that “new” air becomes warm and moist and rises, too. As the warm air continues to rise, the surrounding air swirls in to take its place. As the warmed, moist air rises and cools off, the water in the air forms clouds. The whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean’s heat and water evaporating from the surface.
Storms that form north of the equator spin counterclockwise. Storms south of the equator spin clockwise. This difference is because of Earth’s rotation on its axis.
As the storm system rotates faster and faster, an eye forms in the center. It is very calm and clear in the eye, with very low air pressure. Higher pressure air from above flows down into the eye.

The two GOES satellites keep their eyes on hurricanes from far above Earth’s surface—22,300 miles above, to be exact! (Learn more about this kind of orbit.)
These satellites, built by NASA and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), save lives by helping weather forecasters predict and warn people where and when these severe storms will hit land.

For all your hurricane protection needs contact CAT 5 Shutters, LLC. Visit us on the web at www.cat5hurricaneshutterswpb.com or call us toll free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE. We offer free estimates for any budget.

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Super Storm Sandy -1 year ago today

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 29, 2013

Super Storm Sandy -1 year ago todayBREEZY POINT, N.Y. — Thousands of New York and New Jersey residents displaced when Superstorm Sandy barreled ashore one year ago are still fighting with insurance companies, slogging through red tape and waiting for government aid – and many still aren’t home.
The storm, which made landfall in the U.S. last Oct. 29, killed an estimated 160 people here and dozens more in the Caribbean, according to the National Hurricane Center, and inflicted billions of dollars in damages, including some 366,000 structures in New York and New Jersey.

The state of rebuilding in the region varies. In some hard-hit neighborhoods, there are empty lots where homes once stood. Storm-wrecked residences stand vacant with “for sale” signs outside. Some families forge ahead with the often slow, costly construction process, with some living in their partially repaired homes. And others who lack the resources to rebuild, including those battling for insurance money or waiting for government aid, are still shacking up with relatives or living in temporary apartments.

For most of those still displaced by Sandy – which includes at least 27,000 households in New York and New Jersey, according to state and local officials – money is the major barrier to getting home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided more than $1.4 billion in assistance to more than 182,000 disaster survivors in five states, including New York and New Jersey. But states have been slower to supply key $150,000 to $300,000 federal grants, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to individual homeowners facing funding shortages as they rebuild.
For now, some Sandy survivors still see no path home.
In Union Beach, N.J., a tight-knit community ravaged by Sandy, entire blocks once filled with homes are mostly empty. On two vacant lots, handmade signs express anger at insurance companies for not paying up.
On a recent Saturday, Joe and Lori Argentina surveyed the sinking foundation where their home once stood. Sandy’s floodwaters swept their five-bedroom residence of nine years 200 feet away through wetlands abutting their property.
“It’s a year of nothing. Nothing,” said Joe, a 68-year-old retiree now sharing a one-bedroom bungalow in Union Beach with Lori, 50, and their two young daughters. Another daughter, in college, is expected to return home soon after she graduates. The couple has no money to rebuild, saying their bank pressured them to use their flood insurance check to pay off their mortgage. They quickly accrued debt, making them ineligible for a federal government loan pegged for disaster victims (they were twice rejected).
Lori, a paraprofessional for the New York City education department, said the family’s last resort was a $150,000 HUD-funded state grant. She applied when the program began in late May and received preliminary approval in early July but doesn’t know how much they will receive or when.
“We’re just stuck in limbo,” she said, with no back-up plan for rebuilding or leaving their cramped bungalow.
Her daughter Veronica, 13, said she frequently squabbles with her sister Jessica, 10, over space. They sleep on a futon in the living room. “I don’t have room for clothes, though I really don’t have that many clothes anymore,” she said. “Having everything gone makes me more appreciative of what I had.”

Kieran Burke, 41, is living with his family in an apartment in Yonkers, N.Y., about an hour’s drive from their home in Breezy Point. For much of the last year, Burke said he fought to obtain the building permits and insurance money necessary to rebuild his Breezy Point bungalow, one of nearly 130 that burned in fires sparked by Sandy’s floodwaters. Burke said he has received almost his entire insurance payout and expects to get the permits soon, but he is reeling from the frustration he experienced along the way.
“I was here as the fire progressed,” said Burke, a fire marshal and father of two young boys. “And to be quite honest, the experience of dealing with trying to get permits and the insurance was ten times worse than any of that.”

Joe said he visits the old neighborhood at night, sitting and looking at the water. “It’s heartbreaking,” he said.
About one hour south in Manahawkin, N.J., Jackie Terefenko and her husband, Mike, have run out of funds to complete work on their partially repaired home.
They elevated their two-story residence to nearly 14 feet to comply with new FEMA building guidelines, but have encountered many setbacks, including a wall pulling away during the lift and part of the second floor sagging.
“We have all these problems on top of problems,” said Jackie, 59, who was diagnosed with lymphoma after Sandy tore through the house they bought in 1964.
They live on the second floor, using their bathroom as a makeshift kitchen with a toaster oven and hot plate, and they eat at a card table in their bedroom. The first floor remains stripped to the studs without insulation, heat or electricity.
The Terefenkos need more money to build steps to the front door and finish the first floor, including the kitchen, bathroom, walls, new doors and windows, as well as hook up the electricity. But a new problem has emerged: The front wall is bowing out.
“We’re living in hell,” said Jackie, who has a box and bag full of paperwork and receipts that chronicle their rebuilding.
The couple is fighting for more funds from their insurance company, which paid $84,000 of a $250,000 policy, Jackie said. So far, they’ve spent $139,000 – a sum cobbled together from the insurance money, their savings and government aid – but Jackie estimates the price tag will surpass $220,000. The couple is waiting to hear if they’ll receive one of the HUD-funded state grants.
“They’ve got all that money, but where’s it at?” Mike said of their predicament.
The process is so overwhelming, said the couple, that like many others in the community, they have been in counseling since the storm. “We honestly couldn’t handle what was happening to us,” Jackie said.

Back in Breezy Point, the outlook is much brighter for Elizabeth and Michael Carlson, who are among a rare group of Sandy survivors: They soon will move into a newly rebuilt home, one constructed in compliance with the updated federal guidelines.
“It’s not been easy,” said Michael, 36, a field technician with a telecommunications company. “It’s just one thing after another.”
In the past year, the family has moved three times with an infant (Michael Jr., now 18 months), waited months for new federal construction guidelines for their flood zone and fought with their insurance company, an ongoing battle, Michael said.
The family managed to rebuild using money they’d saved to renovate their modest bungalow, which was condemned after four feet of water raged through it during the storm. They’ve also received some insurance money and have taken out a loan from the Small Business Administration, though they’ll still have to cover the mortgage on their former bungalow.
The Carlsons, who hope to move into their new home in mid-December, are the first family among their closest neighbors to rebuild from scratch, and they hope it motivates others. Nearly 40 homes are now being rebuilt in this community, which lost 350 residences to the storm and fire.

Passers-by “have said to me that it’s kind of inspiring for the neighborhood, that it’s signs of coming back,” said Michael. “It’s a breath of fresh air, because for a while, we weren’t sure what was going to happen to this community.” About 60 percent of Breezy Point’s 2,800 homeowners have returned since Sandy hit, said Artie Lighthall, general manager of the private community’s cooperative.
The Carlsons aren’t planning to commemorate the first anniversary of the storm, though it does coincide with Elizabeth’s 34th birthday. “It’s time to just move forward,” she said.
“A year later, it looks like we’re coming back,” Michael added. “And probably a little bit stronger.

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Hurricane Shutter Breakdown

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 28, 2013

Hurricane Shutter BreakdownHurricane Shutters
If you live in a hurricane-prone area like any of the coastal counties from Texas to Maine, covers for windows are an excellent investment for protection of life and property. These covers can be heavy duty commercial shutters or properly installed plywood of sufficient thickness for the opening it is protecting. A minimum thickness suggested is 5/8-inch with thicker, properly reinforced plywood for large areas such as sliding glass doors. These covers will protect windows and doors from wind and, more importantly, flying debris.
Much of the damage that occurred from Hurricane Andrew in Miami, Fla., in 1992 resulted from failure of windows and doors. These failures frequently lead to interior wall failure and sometimes roof failures. Much of the damage from hurricane Andrew would have been prevented by shutters or other well installed covers for the windows and doors.
What is the best hurricane shutter?
The best are those that are affordable and that you can manage to install or operate. For a disabled or elderly person, this may require some sort of automated method for closing; suggesting something like accordion shutters. For the strong handyman, heavy plywood trimmed to fit within the windows with secure mounting brackets makes sense. Bahamas shutters are a favorite for some because they serve a useful purpose year-round and are quick and easy to install when needed.
Storm panels are a good compromise for many people. Steel panels offer the best protection, but are difficult to install because of their weight. Aluminum panels at a comparable price offer less protection, but are easier to install. If there is no source of heavy debris upwind, you might consider the lesser protection of aluminum shutters adequate. There are other types. The key in all of these is that the installation must be good, and done by a qualified and reliable workman, and they must suit the conditions under which they will be installed and expected to perform.
Which shutter choice is best for you depends on how much work you can do in fabricating and installing them. One word of caution: if electric power is used to open or close shutters, then a mechanical backup is mandatory, since electricity may very well be out either before or after a hurricane.
What about plastic films?
Plastic films are no substitute for shutters or plywood covers for windows and doors. However, demonstrations of their strength are quite impressive, and they are probably the next best thing to solid covers for windows and doors, especially where access to such glass areas is physically restricted. One problem is that they provide only a small measure of protection for the glass itself, and frequently the frame holding the glass in place can fail. This includes both windows and sliding glass doors.
How do I choose a company I can trust?
The same way one goes about choosing any company that performs services. Make sure they are licensed and above all, check their references. If the company provides the references, they will likely not give you names of unsatisfied customers; thus referrals from friends and relatives are preferable. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau, your local licensing authority, and contractor associations.
When is the best time to get shutters installed?
The best time to have shutters installed is when your house is built so that they can be part of the design. If you already have a home without shutters, then get them installed as soon as it is practical to do so. If they are permanently in place on your home, — such as Bahamas shutters, roll-down, accordion, etc. — then practice closing them once a year before hurricane season to make sure everything is in place and in working order.
If they are panels, then check at the beginning of each hurricane season to see that all hardware is available and check each opening to make sure no repairs are required. It is also a good idea to practice installing these panels for a couple of windows or doors prior to each season, to time how long it takes you to install them.
When a hurricane watch is issued, check all mechanisms and hardware again, and perhaps install some of your more difficult shutters. If you are in a potential evacuation zone, and it is going to take you more than 2 to 3 hours to install your shutters, you may want to start the work during the hurricane watch phase. If you are not in an evacuation zone, you should have time during the hurricane warning phase to install your shutters.
What if I can’t afford to get shutters?
The least expensive effective method of protecting windows is probably plywood. If plywood covers are properly installed, they are just as effective, or maybe more effective than commercial shutters. The key is proper thickness and installation. They should be cut, fit, and installed prior to the hurricane season, and then well-marked and stored with hardware for quick installation should a hurricane threaten your area. The time for installation is the same as for shutters mentioned above. You might consider doing a few windows at a time over a long period, or seeking financing to make them affordable. There will still be some people who, for one reason or another, just can’t afford to do either of these. For those, it is like not having insurance, recovering from the disaster will be slow, and they will have to depend on outside help. Putting tape on the windows is not considered worth the effort.

Whether you can afford a little or a lot CAT 5 Shutters, LLC is here to offer the best hurricane protection for any budget. We offer free estimates and can offer different ideas to help suit any needs of any budget. Contact us today. On the web at www.cat5hurricaneshutterswpb.com or call us toll free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE.

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Storm Shutters Stay Up All Hurricane Season

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 28, 2013

Storm Shutters Stay Up All Hurricane SeasonProperty values will decline and more crime will occur if the city passes a proposed ordinance to allow part-time property owners to keep their hurricane shutters up during the entire storm season, opponents say.

“It’s an invitation to robbers and thieves. Plus, having shutters up all that time is unsightly,” said Don Raskin, vice president of the Barclay Club at PGA National.

Supporters say consumers would save money. It costs about $1,200 to install and remove galvanized shutters with wing nuts on all windows and doors in a typical 2,000-square-foot home, said two shutter business owners. Building owners would avoid repeatedly paying to put up and take down shutters when storms approach.

“The city has no business telling a property owner when they can put up and take down shutters during the hurricane season,” said Paul Creelman, owner of Centurion Home Tenders of North Palm Beach.

Shutters in Palm Beach Gardens now can be on a building five days before a storm hits and five days after it passes.

If approved by the city council Jan. 5, building owners who register with the city could keep shutters up between June 1 and Nov. 30. Shutters would not be allowed the rest of the year.

Building owners who leave during the summer would give the city two names of local residents to provide keys to the doors of shuttered buildings in case of either a crime or fire.

Firefighters now must break through shutters when a fire starts in a building owned by a person who is not reachable. The longer it takes to get inside a burning building, the more dangerous the situation to firefighters, said Chief Pete Bergel of the Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue Department.

A fire inside a building absorbs oxygen for fuel. When firefighters break through the shutters, the fire sucks in oxygen and expands. Flames blast out.

“A firefighter standing in the way is pretty much dead,” Bergel said.

Other communities in Palm Beach County do not require registration. Boynton Beach allows shutters on commercial and residential buildings to stay up all season, but few owners choose to do so, said Ray Carter, the city’s interim fire chief.

“I can count on two hands the number of buildings that have shutters up all season,” he said.

In Wellington, building owners can keep shutters up three days before and three days after a hurricane. Owners can install shutters for two-week periods twice a year for vacations, said Steve Koch, Wellington’s code compliance manager.

“We’re flexible if they want a little longer time,” Koch said.

Allowing shutters to stay up all season would avoid the mad rush for pre-hurricane installation, said Russ Griffin, owner of West Palm Beach-based Shutter Bugs, which installs hurricane shutters.

“Frantic people offer me thousands of dollars. They are afraid their insurance won’t pay if their shutters aren’t up,” Griffin said.

Palm Beach Gardens officials say the registration is in response to complaints from part-time residents.

They told city officials they must either depend on a friend or pay a business to install and remove their shutters.

“Seasonal residents want the peace of mind to have shutters up during hurricane season,” Bergel said.

Homeowners associations in Palm Beach Gardens can pass their own regulations to prohibit the shutters from being up all season even if the council passes the ordinance, Bergel said.

Even so, the proposal isn’t likely to win much support in the Bent Tree Homeowners Association, said Beth Kyne, the HOA’s vice president.

“I can’t think of any reason why the city would cater to the out-of-town crowd. The council would be well advised to pay attention to the people who live and vote in this town,” Kyne said.

Either way, you have the right to protect your home when you are living there full time. Contact CAT 5 Shutters, LLC in West Palm Beach via web at www.cat5hurricaneshutterswpb.com or call us toll free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE. We offer free estimates and have a wide variety of different hurricane protection.

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What happened to hurricane season? And why we should keep forecasting it…

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 25, 2013

What happened to hurricane season? And why we should keep forecasting it…As we wrap up September, there have been just two short-lived Category 1 hurricanes in the Atlantic. Yet seasonal forecasts predicted an extremely active season. What’s going on?
Before diving into the seasonal forecasts, let’s take inventory on where the season stands.
In an average season, 8 tropical storms, 4 hurricanes, and 1 major (category 3 or higher) hurricane form by this date. This year, we’ve experienced 10 tropical storms, 2 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes.
Though we’ve had close to the average number of total storms, most have been short-lived and/or weak. If you went out for a cup of coffee at any time this hurricane season, you would’ve missed many of them.
Aside from tropical storm Andrea’s modest impact in the Southeast, none of these storms has made landfall in the U.S.
Atlantic tropical cyclones so far in 2013. Advisories were only written during the portions of the tracks shown with solid lines (dashed and dotted lines correspond to times when it was a disturbance or a post-tropical cyclone).

Total storm energy *much* below normal
I have referenced ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) as a common measure of seasonal tropical activity before, but as a refresher, it’s the sum of the squares of all of the storms’ peak wind speeds at 6-hourly intervals. It is proportional to the kinetic energy of a storm, based on its peak wind value (not the size of the storm or distribution of its winds).
(A storm can achieve high ACE values if it lives a long life and/or is intense. For example, last year, long-lived but relatively weak Nadine meandered in the tropics for 21 days and racked up an ACE of 26.3, while Katia in 2011 was only around for 11.5 days but was very intense – reaching category 4 intensity – and ended up with an ACE of 27.)
This year’s ACE is 23.1, 28 percent of average for this date or around the average on August 27, prior to the peak of hurricane season, which has now passed. Of all storms this year, Humberto leads the pack contributing a lowly ACE of 8.3 to the total.
The low activity so far this year is not unprecedented, but unusual.
According to meteorologist Ryan Maue’s Web site, only four other years have had lower ACE totals as of this date (since 1950): 1962, 1977, 1983, and 1994. The highest end-of-season ACE among those years is just 35.6. So it would be a tremendous accomplishment if the 2013 hurricane season finished up with even HALF (52) the ACE of an average season (104).

Mysterious lack of activity
But just before the season began, every group making seasonal forecasts was calling for an above average or “very active” season… so what happened?
Prior to the hurricane season through today, the factors favoring lots of storm activity have included low surface pressures, warm sea surface temperatures, a strong African easterly jet (which enhances disturbances that enter the Atlantic and can potentially grow into storms), and the lack of an El Niño (which can promote hostile westerly winds).
Given that long list of storm-enhancing factors, what does the list of suppressing factors look like?
One signal that jumps out across the heart of the tropical Atlantic is very dry air. While some previous active seasons have had drier-than-normal air present (2004 is a great example), it has not reached the extreme of this year.
The plot below shows the departure of mid-level relative humidity from average, and peak values are around 24 percent. This anomalously dry air has also existed at lower and higher altitudes. Furthermore, the same areas that show up as dry here are also characterized by large-scale subsidence (sinking air) which acts to squash organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane formation. That signal was not present in previous active years.
Anomalies of mid-level relative humidity, averaged over Aug 1 – Sep 27. (NOAA)

The jury is still out as to WHY so much subsidence and dry air has dominated the basin the past couple months, but clearly, it wasn’t very predictable.
Colder than normal ocean surface temperature in an area west of Portugal is another suppressing factor that wasn’t generally accounted for, but that hindsight has shown according to Phil Klotzbach, hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.
“[There is] very strong correlation between June sea surface temperatures in that area and Atlantic ACE values,” Klotzbach said. “I suspect that those cold anomalies propagate and directly impact stability and circulation patterns in the tropical Atlantic during the peak of the season.”
This season will probably teach forecasters to look at a previously-overlooked predictor(s).
But the suppressed activity is not just specific to the Atlantic. Tropical cyclone activity in the entire northern hemisphere is down this year – about 46 percent of average, with all basins (including the east and west Pacific) falling well short of average. There seems to be a combination of global-scale (or at least hemispheric-scale) atmosphere and/or ocean patterns that is causing this drop in activity.
Sure, the season isn’t over yet, but with August and September behind us, it’s REALLY hard to just catch up to average, let alone reach above average. Climatologically, roughly three-quarters of the season is behind us, though October is nothing to be dismissed.

Keep in mind that ACE and seasonal activity should not be confused with U.S. landfalls or destructive storms. There are plenty of examples of very active seasons having minimal impact on the U.S. and quiet seasons having a large impact on the U.S. Of course, if you live near the coast, you should be prepared for every hurricane season, regardless of long-range predictions, it only takes one!
Why bother forecasting seasonal activity at all?
After what will likely be a major forecast “bust” for the groups making seasonal hurricane predictions, critics will jump on the opportunity to attack such forecasts. Here are several reasons why seasonal forecasts are worth making and developing.
1) All forecasters have faced a “bust” at least a few times, even if it’s a forecast for a high temperature made a day in advance! Weather forecasting by its nature will not always be accurate, and if you haven’t tried it, give it a go. It is humbling. But just because you’re sometimes wrong doesn’t mean you should stop trying.
2) Seasonal forecasts of tropical Atlantic activity have been around for 30 years, going back to the pioneering work of Bill Gray and colleagues at Colorado State University in the early 1980s. Several other agencies and groups have joined in on the challenge since then, including NOAA.
The seasonal forecasts are often better than climatology alone, meaning that on average, there is skill in the forecasts. As veteran hurricane forecaster Bill Gray once told me, “in the majority of years we are better than climatology and in some years we are worse. These forecasts were originally developed to give the public something better than seasonal climatology and to focus public attention to hurricanes.”
(Note: contrary to some rumors, seasonal hurricane forecasts are not utilized at all by insurance companies to justify rate changes; their data come from complex catastrophe modeling.)
3) It challenges us to better understand how the atmosphere works.
Phil Klotzbach says “if it were easy, then everyone would do it!” There are many complex oscillations in the atmosphere and ocean that exist on multiple scales. Trying to unravel the patterns and relationships to yield a skillful prediction of hurricane activity months in advance is not a trivial task. It also shows us that there are still some missing pieces of the puzzle or that that we don’t know what all of the pieces are – keeping scientific curiosity alive.
4) If there are key players that drive overall activity which are currently unpredictable (like this year’s large-scale subsidence, etc), how can there ever be any skill? Again, the skill comes out in the average, not necessarily in every season. Current methodologies are published in peer-reviewed literature, so this is not some roll of the dice. Seasonal forecasters do the best they can with the data and knowledge available. They’d be the first ones and the most qualified ones to point out the shortcomings. And why settle for the unpredictable always remaining unpredictable?
If your only interest is where and when a hurricane will make landfall, seasonal forecasting isn’t for you. That falls into the daily weather spectrum of forecasting… out to a few days or a week.
Seasonal forecasting is largely an academic exercise, but with an end result that has been and continues to be of interest to the public. If you disagree with it and its premise, you are entitled to do so, but for everyone else’s benefit, it will remain an active area of research and learning.

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Types of Shutters & Maintenace

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 25, 2013

Types of Shutters & Maintenace
Roll shutters are aluminum slats installed along the tops of windows. Roll shutters are operated by an inside or outside hand crank, or can be motorized, and are rolled up out of view when not in use.

Accordion hurricane shutters are interlocking aluminum blades that run on a track-and-wheel assembly installed above and below windows. They are pulled horizontally as one unit or can be installed on both the left and right sides of windows and join in the middle when shutters also come in wood, vinyl or fiberglass.

Bahama shutters are fixed aluminum louvers installed on a hinge above windows. Bahama shutters can be left open by using adjustable arms attached to either side of the louvers with brackets. The arms are removed when the shutters need to be closed. These shutters also come in wood, vinyl or fiberglass.

Storm panels are lightweight aluminum panels that are installed and removed easily in fixed tracks above and below windows. They can be stored away when not in use.

Clear hurricane shutters are similar to storm panels, but are made of transparent lightweight polycarb

onate resin.

Colonial hurricane shutters are louvers that attach to either side of the window just like regular shutters. They remain in place year-round and are closed to meet in the middle of the window when needed.

Selecting Hurricane Shutters: When it comes to hurricane shutters, there are no set rules or guidelines that apply to every house. Buying hurricane shutters ultimately comes down to personal preference, price, ease of installation and use, and level of protection. Storm panels, Bahama shutters or colonial shutters are strongest and are considered to provide the best protection. For consumers on a budget, storm panels are the least expensive per square foot. Accordion hurricane shutters are easy to operate.
Consumers should make sure the hurricane shutters they select meet the building codes for their particular area. Different styles of hurricane shutters can be used on the same house to accommodate sizes and locations of particular windows, and also take into account accessibility to these windows as well as overall costs and personal needs.
Decorative vs. Functional Hurricane Shutters: Some people may place protection before appearance, and others may look for hurricane shutters that do not detract from the look of their homes. All hurricane shutters protect against breaking glass and flying debris. Roll shutters, colonial hurricane shutters and Bahama shutters generally have the least impact on a home’s appearance. Accordion hurricane shutters have a dramatic effect on architectural integrity. Storm panels are effective barriers of protection and, since they can be removed and stored away, place no architectural compromises on a home unless permanent sills and headers are used. A special screw anchor with bolts can be used to attach storm panels to windows when needed. Between uses, the bolts can be removed and the screw anchors alone reduce any effect on a home’s façade.
Installing Hurricane Shutters: Hurricane shutters are installed on the outside of the window and should be secured to the structural framing of the house and not to the window frame itself. Hurricane shutters are attached with bolts or tracks, depending on the type of hurricane shutter. For instance, colonial shutters are bolted on either side of a window, while accordion hurricane shutters are attached by a track above and below the window. Roll shutters are bolted only above the window.
Though do-it-yourselfers may choose to install hurricane shutters themselves, it is recommended to have shutters professionally installed to ensure proper fastening. Screws, bolts, anchors or any other exposed metal used to attach hurricane shutters should be weather resistant.
Caring for Hurricane Shutters: The manufacturers and vendors of most types of hurricane shutters, such as Bahama shutters and storm panels, are advertised as being virtually maintenance-free. However, accordion shutters should have periodic light maintenance, including lubricating tracks and rollers and spraying joints and locking mechanisms with silicone or aluminum spray. On an annual basis, hurricane shutters should be operated to make sure they are working properly. Tracks, slats, and locks should be cleaned with a liquid wax and any debris cleaned from tracks and rollers.

For your hurricane protection needs call CAT 5 Shutters, LLC today. We offer free estimates. Contact us via web at www.cat5hurricaneshutterswpb.com or call toll free 1-877-CAT-FIVE.

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How Long Can South Florida’s Hurricane Luck Last?

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 22, 2013

How Long Can South Florida’s Hurricane Luck Last?History – not the effects of global warming – suggest that South Florida’s six-year run without a hurricane is at increasing risk.

It’s not because Mother Nature has gone wild on global warming juice. It’s a matter of simple odds.

The last hurricane to hit the state was Category 3 Wilma, which roared ashore near Naples and buzz-sawed across the peninsula, leaving a $9 billion trail of ripped roofs and shattered high-rise windows from Miami to Palm Beach. That was five years ago, come October.
History, the only reliable indicator of where hurricanes wind up, suggests South Florida is due.

The statisticians at the National Hurricane Center calculate that the coastline from Palm Beach County to Key West has averaged a hit from a Category 1 hurricane every four to five years. It doesn’t take the sharpest knife in the drawer to figure South Florida’s hurricane-free run, at five years and counting, might just be at risk.

“Obviously, when you look at the return frequency, the greatest risk in Florida is South Florida,’’ said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center. “We’re sticking pretty far down into the tropics.’’

Most preseason forecasts predict a slightly calmer season than 2010, but that’s small comfort. Last year churned out 19 named storms — tied for third-highest number on record.

Defying the odds, none of the 12 storms that grew to hurricane strength made landfall on the mainland U.S. Last year also marked a record-tying fifth straight year in which the mainland has escaped a strike from major hurricane of Category 3 or above. But three storms did cause heavy damage and kill 250 people in the Caribbean and Central America.

Jerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, said conditions that have seemed to super-fuel the tropics over the last decade remain largely in place. The brew includes warm Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures, running two degrees higher than normal, along with assorted favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions that have locked the tropics in a 17-year cycle of high activity. Eight of the 13 busiest hurricane years have been recorded since 2000, including 2005, with the all-time high for storms: 28.

The one change in global weather conditions, and a bit of a wild card, is the apparent waning of La Niña, a weather pattern marked by cooling temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean that typically tends to reduce wind shear, making it easier for storms in the Atlantic to form and strengthen. The expectation, said Bell, isn’t for a shift to an El Niño phase, which tends to knock back hurricane formation, but instead to something in between.

NOAA’s forecast calls for 12 to 18 named storms, including six to 10 hurricanes, with three to six developing into major storms — still “above-normal.’’

Where they will wind up is anybody’s guess. The steering currents that curved all 12 hurricanes away from the U.S. last year — the first time that has ever happened – are unpredictable, Bell said, and typically more variable than they were in 2010 .

There is at least one bit of upbeat news. Scientists say the record tornadoes and flooding devastating the South and Midwest aren’t harbingers of a cataclysmic hurricane season to come.

The powerful atmospheric forces generating those events aren’t big players in tropical storm formation, said Brian Soden, a climate researcher at the University of Miami.

“There is no real overlap,’’ said Soden, a professor of meteorology at UM’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Like many scientists, he also cautions against viewing the record flooding and tornadoes as evidence that a warming world has suddenly flicked the “extreme’’ switch on the complex global weather machine.

The deadly weather has sparked debates in newspapers and blogs about what role climate change has played in the extreme weather events. Some environmentalists and scientists argue a hotter, moister atmosphere in the Gulf of Mexico has added fuel to the already volatile spring weather that typically produces the most intense twisters.

But Soden said it’s too soon to call the twisters as “a climate change signal.’’ That would be like projecting a baseball player’s production from the first few at-bats of a season, he said. It will take decades, he said, to measure how — and how much — influence climate change will have.

For instance, some initial research suggests hotter seas will produce more and stronger storms but subsequent studies suggest it could also create stronger wind shear that could shred hurricanes.

“The knee-jerk reaction is that it is going to lead to more hurricanes, stronger hurricanes, etc.,’’ Soden said. “The changes may be a mixed bag.’’

A preliminary assessment produced last month by what NOAA has informally dubbed its CSI team — short for Climate Scene Investigations — found nothing to indicate climate change played a role in the outbreak. Water vapor and wind shear, key ingredients in tornado formation, fell within ranges recorded over the past 30 years.

Martin Hoerling, a NOAA scientist who leads what is technically know as the Climate Attribution Rapid Response Team, said there was no disputing that temperatures have risen globally but measuring its impact at the local level is far more difficult and will require a concerted research effort.

“As we go to the local, we discover that the natural variability is much, much greater,’’ said Hoerling, who is based at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. “We struggle to define what is natural variability and what is change.’’

It’s also unclear how still relatively minor climate changes could produce what he called “rogue’’ or “black swan’’ weather events — such as the 15 to 25 inches of rain recorded in the Mississippi Valley on April 14.

“It doesn’t mean climate change wasn’t a contributor,’’ Hoerling said. “We had twice as much rain as ever happened in this area and you can’t explain that from a 2 or 3 percent increase in moisture levels.’’

Jeff Weber, a scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which is affiliated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, said the explosion of twisters had been spawned by what he called a “classic set up’’ of the forces that fuel tornadoes.

One key was an atmospheric pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation, which is a measure of the fluctuations between a low pressure system over Greenland and a high pressure one over the Azores. It can alter the alignment of the jet stream, which helps steer storms as they move across the country and influences weather in Europe and North America. Weber said they’ve been unusually persistent for the last 23 months, causing the jet stream to “buckle’’ and slowing storms. That allowed thunderstorms to slurp more moist warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and more cold air from the north — the perfect twister cocktail.

“I am a full believer in climate change and global warming. I can’t find any empirical evidence for it here,’’ he said. “’It’s not unprecedented. Sometimes, weather just happens.’’

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Do you know what to do when you survive a disaster?

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 22, 2013

Do you know what to do when you survive a disaster?Learn what you need to know before you apply for assistance and next steps after you apply:

Before You Apply

What is disaster assistance?
Do I qualify for assistance?
What information do I need to apply?
What items are covered by disaster assistance?
What are my rights?
Disaster Recovery Center Locator
Frequently Asked Questions

Apply for Assistance

Apply Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
Apply via a smartphone at m.fema.gov
Apply by Phone:
Call (800) 621-3362
Call TTY (800) 462-7585 for people with speech or hearing disabilities

After You Apply for Assistance
Main Content
I applied for assistance. What next?

1. We recommend you create an account online so you can:

Check the status of your Registration
Update your insurance and bank information
Add or update contact information
Apply for assistance with other agencies
View and print information from FEMA
Change your address with the Social Security Administration

You are not required to create an account to apply for FEMA assistance.

2. FEMA will send you a copy of your application, which should arrive either via U.S. mail or, if you elected to receive email correspondence, in your Disaster Assistance Account (notification via email). FEMA will also send you an Applicant Guide to assist you with the process.

3. An inspector may contact you to schedule a time to review your damages.

What happens at the inspection?
What happens after the inspection?

4. You may be asked to complete additional forms.

Declaration and Release Form: Verifies that a member of the household is a citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien of the United States.

For more information go to http://www.fema.gov

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