Top 10 Hurricane & Tropical Storm Questions

It is hurricane season and that means it's time to go over hurricane and tropical storm facts by way of the most frequently asked questions the WKRG News 5 First Alert Storm Team gets. Here are the top 10 questions.

1) What's this season going to be like?

Seasonal outlooks from many universities, governments, and businesses call for average or above average for the ENTIRE Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf, BUT NOBODY can say with any certainty what it will be like in our local area.

2) Does that early Tropical Storm Arlene mean anything for the rest of the season?

No. Technology lets us see storms that we couldn't detect in the past.

3) Does our dry fall, or wet start to this year mean anything for the hurricane season?

No. Local weather does not control the formation of tropical storms.

4) Which computer model is the best for hurricane forecasting?

None. Depending on where a storm is and what the weather pattern and month is, some models do better than others, but none is always right on target.

5) The other station or Facebook page said X is going to happen but you guys say Y will happen. Who's right?

We would not put out a forecast that we didn't think was the best! In reality, no forecast is right or wrong if it's based on good science and good data. There's just too much we still don't know or can't measure with tropical weather and that makes forecasting challenging.

6) I heard that a computer model says a storm will be in the Gulf in two weeks, is that true?

It's neither true nor false but it is too far away to give it much thought. Computer models can make projections way out in the future that look just like what you would see on a next day forecast BUT the accuracy beyond a week is low. Even 4 days away, a lot can happen in the formation, motion, growth or demise of a tropical storm. Models frequently change solutions, farther out in time.

7) Are hurricanes getting worse?

It depends on how you measure them. The IMPACT of hurricanes is getting worse because more people than ever live near the coasts, with more stuff than our grandparents had, so there's more dollar loss and more disruption.

8) Why does your weather app show a different forecast than what you have on TV?

On TV, we give an average for our area of 10,000 square miles. Our weather app, just like most weather apps, has mostly automated data updates that are specific to your location. Just like most weather apps, it is forecast data without human input.

9) Which is right, your weather app or your TV forecast?

If weather apps were more accurate than human forecasters, there would be no more human forecasters! Weather apps are designed to give you trends and possibilities with frequent updates. That doesn't make their forecasts perfect. The real strength of weather apps is in providing current radar, lightning, and watches and warnings.

10) What do you really think is going to happen this season, or with any given storm?

Whatever we think as meteorologists, you hear it on TV, our website, our weather app, Facebook and in person. We would never hold back information that impacts life and property.

Get the free News 5 weather app. It gives tropical storm and hurricane data.

Follow tropical storms on with the interactive radar. On that same page you'll always find the latest forecast, updated multiple times each day.

Watch our hurricane season preparation program - Hurricane: Simple Safety

Prepare now for all tropical weather threats, using an extensive resource list in the Weather Education section and the Tropics section of

Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida