Severe weather is, unfortunately, typical in Florida. Since the state is especially vulnerable to hurricanes, avoiding any potential dangers is crucial. This article explains more about protecting yourself from the path of a hurricane. Our attorneys can help you with your hurricane damage claim.
When Do Most Hurricanes Occur?
While they can happen anytime, most storms occur during the Atlantic hurricane season from June to November. The season peaks in September, but August and October carry an increased risk of severe weather as well.
Where Do Most Hurricanes Occur?
During the Atlantic hurricane season, tropical storm systems start near the coast of Africa before crossing the ocean and ravaging the eastern United States. Because of this trajectory, the Florida Keys and cities in Southeast Florida often fall in the path of a hurricane.
Cities in the southwestern part of the state, like Fort Myers and Naples, are also susceptible to hurricane damage. The panhandle is also occasionally at risk, with hurricanes affecting Gulf Coast cities about every two years.
Most major hurricanes lessen to a category one classification before crossing the state’s western, southwestern, and central regions. However, cities in all areas of Florida can still face a significant risk of danger from hurricanes.
Hurricane Warning Systems
Regardless of where you live in Florida, you may find yourself in the path of a hurricane at some point. To stay up to date with the current weather conditions, you must keep an eye out for hurricane watches and warnings.
The National Hurricane Center issues storm surge, tropical storm, and hurricane watches 48 hours before the estimated arrival. Watches are less severe and indicate the possibility of dangerous weather conditions.
A storm surge watch signals that waters may rise to life-threatening levels and move inland. A tropical storm watch warns that weather conditions might form a tropical storm.
Hurricane watches indicate that a tropical cyclone could develop in your area. Keep in mind that a hurricane watch is for when wind speeds could potentially reach tropical storm-force levels, not when the hurricane could hit.
While watches indicate a possibility of severe weather, warnings all but guarantee it. The NHC attempts to issue storm surge, tropical storm, and hurricane warnings 36 hours before the expected impact.
Storm surge warnings communicate danger from life-threatening water levels moving from the shoreline towards your area. A tropical storm warning indicates that you can expect one to hit your location within a day and a half.
The NHC issues a hurricane warning for when wind speeds reach dangerous levels, not when the storm is expected to make landfall.
How to Prepare
Preparing for the worst is essential, even if you’re not in the direct path of a hurricane. Here’s how to protect yourself before a watch or warning and what to do after they’re issued.
Before a Watch or Warning
To protect yourself and your property, you should prepare for adverse weather conditions before a watch or warning is issued. First and foremost, you should create an emergency plan ahead of time and practice it.
After creating your emergency plan, you should start to compile an emergency kit. An emergency kit or “go-bag” should include food, water, medicine, first aid supplies, flashlights, and a weather radio. The Department of Homeland Security has a checklist for emergency supplies.
Finally, you should prepare your home as best you can. Remove gravel from your property, trim weak branches and trees, install storm shutters, and seal outside wall openings. You should also review your insurance policy and increase coverage if necessary.
After a Watch
Once the NHC issues a hurricane watch, you have about 36 to 48 hours to prepare. You’ll need to purchase any emergency supplies you don’t already have on hand, like batteries, bottled water, candles, and flashlights.
Keep your cell phone and other electronic devices fully charged, and fill your car with gasoline. You can protect your property by taking outdoor furniture inside, lowering antennas, and retracting awnings.
You should also write down your insurer’s name and phone number and keep the information on your person. Lastly, you’ll need to review your evacuation routes and keep up with the news. If local authorities tell you to evacuate, leave as quickly as possible.
After a Warning
Once officials issue a hurricane warning, it’s time to take action. Review your emergency plan and go over your communication strategy with your family. You should also watch the news or listen to the radio to keep up with the storm’s movement.
When local officials order you to evacuate, leave the area as soon as possible. Don’t forget to pack warm clothes, grab your emergency kit, and safeguard important documents. Before you go, remember to turn off your electricity and lock your doors.
If you choose to ride out the storm or if it’s not possible to evacuate, stay inside and away from windows and glass doors. Put several walls as you can between yourself and the outside and avoid leaving your home until there’s an official announcement that the storm has passed.
Regardless of whether you evacuate, remain cautious of new dangers. Stay alert for outdoor hazards, avoid loose power lines, and be careful when walking or driving. Reserve 911 calls for only life-threatening emergencies since emergency services can quickly become overwhelmed.
Speak to the Professionals
To best protect yourself from the path of a hurricane, it’s crucial to stay up to date with any severe weather watches and warnings. If local officials order you to evacuate, leave the area as quickly as possible.
Once the storm passes and you assess the damage, you should file a claim with your insurance company. We can help you determine your options based on your insurance coverage. We will investigate, negotiate, and litigate your case to get you the results you deserve.
Schedule your free case review today with our Hollywood property damage attorneys. When insurance companies fail, Klotzman Property Damage Law succeeds.