Weather technology gets better, while stress levels rise

Weather technology gets better while stress level rises

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - On Sept. 8 1900, a Category 4 hurricane ripped through Galveston, Texas. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people lost their lives.

"Those people had no idea this was coming," said FOX 8 Meteorologist Bruce Katz.

Sophisticated weather forecasting technology did not exist, and without warning, thousands were going about their daily lives when the storm made landfall.

"In today's world, we know what's coming," Katz said.

Today, technology has brought us light years ahead of where we were in 1900. Katz points to technology that now tracks a wave coming off the coast of Africa and it's exact movement across the Atlantic.

"It's one of those things," Katz said. "Technology has gotten so advanced now. It's almost scary that you can see these things in real time, and some of this imagery is like 3 to 5 minutes. Every 3 to 5 minutes, we can tell you where the storm is."

While the technology can be a major asset, there are negative impacts, too.

"What happens is lots of stress and anxiety. My phone is blowing up. Family and friends are freaking out," Katz said.

"Every time there is a big storm in the Atlantic or one sneaks off in the Gulf, the amount of anxiety among the population soars," said Dr. Brobson Lutz.

People can now watch a major hurricane like Irma grow in intensity and move closer and closer for weeks.

Lutz said the long-term anxiety can damage the body.

"Chronic anxiety can't be good for you. There are all sorts of hormones that can be released from the fight-or-flight type hormones that come into play. It's associated with increased blood pressure, maybe even increased heart attacks," he said.

Lutz said we should remember that hurricane warnings are important for saving lives, and those warnings will come in plenty of time to get out, if that would be the case.

"I think talking about it and having a support system is important," he said.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.