Thinking about a Florida vacation brings certain images to mind. Perpetually sunny skies. Glorious beaches. Incredible nightlife. But for those of us who call the Sunshine State home, severe weather is also part of the picture. Florida attorney, Lauri Goldstein wants you and your family to stay safe as hurricane season approaches. Every Florida resident should understand the basics about hurricanes and how to prepare for them. Below are some general facts and guidelines.
What is a hurricane?
- Hurricanes are large, violent storms. They form over water when rapid evaporation causes an area of low air pressure to develop. The water vapor rises and forms clouds. The surrounding higher pressure air rushes in to fill the void, creating swirling winds and even more evaporation. As this system grows, it becomes more powerful and begins to move across the surface of the water.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rates hurricanes on a scale from 1-5, based on wind strength. Category 1 storms are the weakest, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. Category 5 storms are the most severe, with winds reaching speeds greater than 156 mph. Along with the wind, hurricanes also bring torrential rain, and sometimes lightning.
- Hurricane season in the Atlantic starts June 1 and lasts until November 30, although hurricanes have occasionally been recorded outside of these parameters. During this period, weather conditions in the Atlantic are most favorable for hurricane formation. Peak activity is generally seen between August and October.
Preparing for a hurricane
- If you live in an evacuation zone, locate your nearest shelter in case you need to evacuate. If you have pets, make sure the shelter allows them, or find a pet friendly shelter (most counties provide at least one).
- Put together a hurricane kit. This should include bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, first aid kit, and other items. You can bring this to the shelter if you evacuate, or use it at home in case of power outages.
- Prepare your home. Cover windows with hurricane shutters or plywood. Store garbage cans, lawn and patio furniture, garden hoses and any other non-anchored items indoors. Reinforce garage doors with a bracing system, which you can find at a home improvement store.
- Monitor conditions closely. Keep a radio or television tuned to a local station and listen for weather updates and emergency alerts. Evacuate immediately if you feel you are in danger, or if officials announce evacuations in your area.
If your home suffers hurricane damage, you want to get repairs done and get on with your life as quickly as possible. You need a professional to help you through the insurance claims process. For more information about hurricane damage and claims, please contact us today.