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Capital Report: 06-10-2016

It’s been just a little more than a week since the official start of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  But already there have been three named storms formed in the Atlantic this year.  That includes a tropical storm that hit the Gulf Coast this week.  Local emergency management directors worry that the 11 years without a landfall major hurricane has made residents complacent. Tori Whitley reports.

The state of Florida hasn’t taken a direct hurricane hit in more than a decade.  As we hear from Ryan Benk at member station WJCT in Jacksonville, that fact has state emergency managers concerned that residents might not be prepared.

It’s not just resident complacency that has disaster officials worried.   Florida’s population along its coasts has boomed in the eleven years since the last big storms.  That combined with miles of construction on major highways could make evacuating ahead of a storm an even bigger headache if – and when – one or more storms strike this hurricane season.  We get that story from Catherine Welch at member station WMFE in Orlando.

Florida Emergency Management officials have been scrambling to improve their severe weather alert systems—pouring 12 million dollars into a 40 month project, but Marie Edinger reports there’s still a long way to go.

When a hurricane barrels toward Florida, pilots with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA fly their jets—nicknamed hurricane hunters—into the storm. The information they collect helps with forecasts and evacuation orders. The plans are housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, but not for long. The base is evicting them. As we hear from Topher Forhecz at member station WGCU, NOAA is now searching for a new home for the planes.

The state of Florida’s property insurance market is good. That’s according to the Florida insurance leaders. But Lynn Hatter reports prices are starting to go up, and at least one insurance official is warning a perfect storm of issues could hurt the state is a major hurricane hits.