Hurricane season has officially begun! Residents of Florida and other hurricane prone areas will begin preparing for the season.
Recalling the season of 2004, according to Wikipedia, “The season was notable as one of the deadliest and most costly Atlantic hurricane seasons on record in the last decade, with at least 3,132 deaths and roughly $50 billion (2004 US dollars) in damage. The most notable storms for the season were the five named storms that made landfall in the U.S. state of Florida, three of them with at least 115 mph (185 km/h) sustained winds: Tropical Storm Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. This is the only time in recorded history that four hurricanes affected Florida.”
Hurricane Charley was an experience I will never forget. We were just outside the storm, about 30 miles south of the center. The scenes were horrifying; live power lines dangling, palm trees falling on houses, cars, and blocking roads, and pool cages tumbling by as if they were plastic toys. The rain was literally vertical at times and managed to force its way between the window glass and metal frames.
Charley cut Captiva Island, just 39 miles from our home, into two separate islands. When I heard this news, it was too late to evacuate. Punta Gorda, just 30 miles north of us, received a direct hit. The devastation could be seen well into the next year.
Heed the warnings of your local government and never take them lightly; these storms are unpredictable and can be upon you before you know it. Be prepared, stay alert, and have a plan!
Common tips to prepare for the hurricane season include:
• Learn evacuation routes
• Determine ahead of time where official shelters are located for emergency evacuation
• Know your community’s hurricane safety plan
• Develop a family hurricane plan
• Keep all emergency equipment in good working order. Keep gas or charcoal for grilling stocked.
• Maintain a “hurricane box“ containing flashlights, batteries, portable radio, tarps, candles, and lighters
• Stock up on non-perishable food and water supplies, to last five days per person
• Keep gardens well maintained with trees and shrubbery trimmed
• Store all important documents in waterproof containers and have them readily available
• Have pictures or videos of your home, its contents, and other personal property. Keep these in a separate, safe and dry location.
• Back up all computer data, preferably online.
• Plan a storage place for all outdoor decor