Advances continue in hurricane forecasting

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Ready or not, hurricane season is here. The experts are again predicting a busy season.. But nobody can predict when or where the storms will go. But there have been advances in hurricane forecasting.

A look back at rising waters from Hurricane Ike is a grim reminder how dangerous and damaging a hurricane can be and how important it is for those who live in vulnerable areas to plan-- because planning can be the difference between life and death.

Congressman Charles Boustany set up this hurricane information session at Prien Lake Park to offer an opportunity for people to hear the latest from NOAA and the National Weather Service. "This is all based on lessons learned after Hurricanes Rita and Ike and how we apply those lessons to this hurricane season going forward."

Scientists are getting better at forecasting the track of the hurricane while the intensity is more difficult. Weather forecasters predict a busy season. Surprisingly, fatalities occur more often as a result of people driving in inland or flash flooding after a hurricane than from storm surge itself. That's why Tim Osborn with NOAA Coastal Survey says plan a route to safety. "Find the place that you can then trace all the way from your home to the road, to the highway, to your destination that will constantly put you into a safer and safer location protecting you against wind, protecting you against storm surge, inland flooding. So rain events, inland flooding, backwater flooding are very important."

It was also brought out a lot of survey data upon which flood maps are based is wrong. Said Boustany, "It is disturbing to me that when you have the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA using inaccurate information. That's not in the best interest of the state."

Boustany says LSU researchers have brought the information to congress so that appropriate changes can be made.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.