The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
Water Wednesday in June is featuring Hurricane Preparedness. As the first hurricane preparedness talk, we invited the Family and Consumer Sciences Agents, Katherine Allen in the UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension and Lisa Hamilton in the UF/IFAS Volusia County Extension.
Hurry the Hurricanes are Coming!
Planning for a hurricane sounds boring, but it could make the difference between quickly getting reimbursed for damaged items, quickly getting back to work and making sure the people and things that are important to you are protected. Having a plan and spending a few hours to gather items for a kit can reduce your vulnerability and lessen the impact. The news in North Florida is still showing how people continue to have tarps on their roofs, waiting for repairs two years after Hurricane Michael.
Although hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, hurricanes can strike outside of those dates. We are seeing more costly events closer together. Take advantage of the tax holiday to buy things for your hurricane kit. https://floridarevenue.com/DisasterPrep/Pages/default.aspx to see what items are included.
Get everyone involved!
Talking about the season and potential impacts are important conversations about evacuation, budgeting, anxiety, etc. These discussions can help your family consider all aspects of preparation. There are lots of resources available to help you through this process. For general planning, check out http://Disaster.ifas.ufl.edu If you have kids, there are infographics that help to communicate visually. There is also information on categories, differences between watches and warnings, checklist for supply kits, etc.
Get an inventory!
A home inventory is critically important in case there is damage and needs to be reimbursement. With today’s phones, you can take a 360 degree video in each room of your home to make a digital inventory list. Speaking of phones, there are many digital resources, offered for free through organizations like Red Cross, NOAA, FEMA, or your local emergency management office.
Prepare for potential power outages!
If you know there is a potential for a power outage and your freezer isn’t full, try to find some dry ice or bags of ice to fill it. If the power goes out, don’t open the refrigerator/freezer. A full freezer will typically keep the food safe for two days, while a half full one will only keep it safe for about a day. If the food in the freezer still has ice crystals you can refreeze the food.
Refrigerated items should be safe for up to four hours without power. Any foods that have warmed to above 40 ˚F. for more than two hours need to be thrown out. If you aren’t sure about the safety, your local Extension office is a great resource to help you determine safety. It is also an Equal Opportunity Institution and the information is available to everyone!
If you have weathered a hurricane before, realize no two storms are alike. If damages are minor, you may be able to expect a full recovery within a short time after a disaster. However, after a major disaster, the recovery will be limited and will take a long time to be back to the condition before the disaster. So, preparing ahead is the best way to reduce the losses.
To learn more about hurricane preparedness, please watch the recordings on our YouTube Channel UF/IFAS Extension: Water Resources.
This blog article is contributed by Katherine Allen, Lisa Hamilton, and Yilin Zhuang.