Hurricane readiness in the Sunshine State

By Dr. Maria Rometo
Extension Agent II

Aerial image of destroyed homes in Punta Gorda, following Hurricane Charley, Aug. 16, 2004. CREDIT: FEMA Photo/Andrea Booher

Aerial image of destroyed homes in Punta Gorda, following Hurricane Charley, Aug. 16, 2004. CREDIT: FEMA Photo/Andrea Booher

Tell someone you’re from Florida, and they often want to quiz you on the sunny skies and warm weather here. It’s not often that you’ll hear someone ask whether you’re ready for hurricane season.

Perhaps they should. Our home on the Florida peninsula leaves us vulnerable to a one-two punch from Mother Nature, who can throw staggeringly powerful, often deadly tropical storms at us from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Now is the time to get ready for the fierce winds, torrential rains, and rapid flooding brought in during (or sometimes around) the June 1 to November 30 hurricane season. One good first step on that journey is attending one of our free Hurricane Preparedness classes, offered at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and then again May 24, June 21 and July 11. You can find more information and register at Eventbrite.com or by calling (941)861-5000.

Ready.gov/hurricane-toolkit, a federal government site, also offers a host of preparation information, including day-by-day activities to mark the May 15-21 Hurricane Preparation Week by helping you get ready. Those activities include:

  • Sunday, May 15 – Determine your risk;
  • Monday, May 16 – Develop an evacuation plan;
  • Tuesday, May 17 – Secure an insurance check-up;
  • Wednesday, May 18 – Assemble disaster supplies;
  • Thursday, May 19 – Strengthen your home;
  • Friday, May 20 – Identify trusted sources of information; and
  • Saturday, May 21 – Complete your written hurricane plan.

The National Weather Service also provides a wealth of information about hurricanes and hurricane preparation at its Weather-Ready Nation web site.

Take the time. Get ready.

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