Weather experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as Colorado State University forecast another active hurricane season, predicting as many as 20 named tropical systems. NOAA predicts nine of the tropical systems will become hurricanes and four may be major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). While official hurricane season is still a few weeks away, each of the last seven years has seen a named storm prior to the official June 1 start. It’s never too early to be prepared for a hurricane and www.SumterPrepares.com provides valuable information on hurricane preparedness.
Important steps you can take, even months ahead of time, include having the proper tools and supplies available in case a hurricane approaches. Make sure that you have plenty of batteries, backup generator for appliances or sump pump, nonperishable foods, wood to protect doors and windows, and even a tarp in case you need it to cover your roof in case of damage. Make sure drains and gutters are clear so they can better handle heavy rains. Waterproof your crawl space.
The National Institute of Building Sciences says that for every $1 spent on flood mitigation for your home or business can save $6 in repairs. In other words, preparation matters.
“Now is the time to take the necessary preparedness actions if you want to be as ready as possible for the hurricane season,” said David Casto, Director of Emergency Management for Sumter County. “Preparing now also provides a level of reassurance and minimizes the stress of trying to accomplish tasks at the last minute when there will be competition for obtaining supplies.”
Casto says if you follow the seven key steps for the season, the odds of succeeding through the season likely will be strongest. These steps are:
Know and understand the hurricane hazards
- Official hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, but can begin earlier and last longer. Since 2015, there has been a named tropical storm before the official June 1 start.
- Tropical systems can affect Sumter County.
- Hazardous conditions can occur well away from the storm’s center. A severe
thunderstorm in an outlying rain band can produce high winds, tornados and flooding, even if Sumter County is not in the direct path of the hurricane eye or forecast cone.
Make a plan
- Prepare early so you can be as successful as possible when dealing with the hurricane. Waiting until the last minute reduces your options, adds undue stress, and may make a possible evacuation no longer feasible.
- Know what you are going to do ahead of time.
- Decide if you are going to leave the area and know where to go. A nearby friend’s or
relative’s home might be best rather than being stuck on the interstate. Most modern
site-built homes provide protection where shelter-in-place may be the best option.
- Don’t forget to plan for family members with special needs and your pets.
Get a kit
- Have enough food and water to last you seven to 14 days. Don’t forget to make arrangements for your pets.
- You can get good ideas of what items you will need at www.SumterPrepares.com. Get an insurance check-up
- Review your homeowner and business coverages with your insurance provider. Find out what is covered and not covered before you file a claim.
- Get a clear understanding of how a hurricane deductible works.
- Consider obtaining flood insurance even if you do not live in a flood zone.
Strengthen your home
- Protect the windows, garage and doors.
- Local home improvement stores have the necessary supplies that you will need. Get
- Sign up for AlertSumter at www.sumtercountyfl.gov/alerts. Sumter County can send you an alert to let you know of severe weather directly to your telephone, text and email.
- Sumter County encourages everyone to obtain a weather radio that keeps you informed of severe weather and when warnings are issued.
In any natural disaster, a community comes out of it the strongest when helping each other. Neighbors helping neighbors can build an effective support network, especially for those that need extra assistance.
Taking these steps can help minimize damage, anxiety and stress, and make sure you and your loved ones are as safe as possible when disaster strikes.
For more information, visit: www.sumtercountyfl.gov/EM.