Florida is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. The state experiences a tropical storm every year, with a real threat of escalation into a hurricane throughout the Atlantic hurricane season.
For residents of Florida, these storms are never to be taken lightly. They have real-life experience from seeing property damages and lives lost courtesy of hurricanes and tropical storms.
Whether you’re a native, recently moved to Florida, or just visiting, when a storm hits, be prepared to follow procedures that keep you safe.
Here are things you need to do in the event of a storm in Florida.
- Listen to the Forecasts
Forecasters study storm patterns, often predicting them to near accuracy. Days before a tropical storm hits, forecasts and warnings will be issued for public safety.
You don’t want to wait until you can verify the weather with your own eyes. However observant you may be, you can’t match the computers and satellites forecasters use to analyze storms.
Pay attention to the forecasts and heed any warning you hear, as that info could be lifesaving.
It’s also worth learning the terms usually associated with storms and hurricanes as it enables you to understand what forecasters are saying.
Some of the terms you may want to familiarize yourself with include:
- Tropical Storm Watch: There’s a possibility of sustained tropical storm conditions within a specified area in 48 hours. These winds may range between 38 to 73 mph.
- Tropical Storm Warning: tropical storm conditions with wind speeds of 39 to 73 mph are expected in 36 hours.
- Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are sustained wind speeds of 74 mph or higher. These announcements are issued 48 hours in advance.
- Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within the coastline, with sustained winds reaching or surpassing 74 mph. Such warnings are issued 36 hours earlier.
- Be Ready to Evacuate
Understanding what the forecasters say makes it easier to decide what to do before the winds reach tropical storm force, further complicating preparation efforts.
Once it’s clear that you’re going to have a tropical storm on your hands, it’s wise to consider evacuation as you can’t know whether the storm will escalate into a hurricane.
If the forecasters believe evacuation is a good idea, don’t even contemplate it. Just leave.
Besides, you’re better off getting out of town for a few days than getting caught up in a growing storm that may or may not turn into a hurricane. If possible, always take the safest way out.
- Create Emergency Kit
Preparedness in the event of a tropical storm should happen days leading to it. Waiting for the last-minute rush with all that panic and people hoarding stuff isn’t a great idea.
Make an emergency kit a priority just in case you’ll need to evacuate. Usually, you won’t need to, but an emergency kit would still come in handy during the storm. It may wreak the power lines, flood the roads, and destroy stores.
Some of the items to put in your emergency kit include:
Pack enough water to last a few days, as tap water can be polluted, and the conditions may make it difficult to look for fresh water.
Ill or not pack meds. Antibiotics and painkillers may come in handy. If you’re on medicinal weed, get a refill. Remember, medical marijuana in Florida is recertified after every 70 days. Get recertified and refill your prescription in preparation for the storm.
Food and water are essential items you must have in plenty before the storm hits. Prioritize non-perishable food items because they last longer. Pack enough to last you a few days.
In anticipation of power outages, pack several flashlights and extra batteries. You may not be able to leave your home for a while, and you can’t operate in darkness.
If you get injured during the storm, you’ll need to look after yourself because first responders may not be able to reach you.
With a tropical storm on the way, you can’t trust that you’ll keep your home waterproof. Store documents you can’t afford to lose inside an airtight container or bag.
The extent to which a tropical storm will go is unpredictable, which makes preparedness your best friend. The destructive nature of such storms necessitates awareness, willingness to evacuate, and preparation.
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