Be Prepared for Hurricane Season in South Florida
The Atlantic Hurricane Season, from June 1 to November 30 each year, is a fact of life in South Florida. Yes, hurricanes can be dangerous and damaging, but thanks to great weather forecasters, we in Miami-Dade County get plenty of warning when a storm is approaching.
A hurricane watch is issued when hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in the next 36 hours. Don’t wait until a watch or warning is given before being prepared. Planning and being informed are key to getting through a storm safely.
Every year, Miami-Dade County releases a very helpful hurricane preparedness guide. It is available online as a PDF; study and print it so that you know what to do even before hurricane season starts.
Stock up on non-perishable food and drinking water, batteries for flashlights and portable electronics and any medications that might run out during a week or even two after a storm. Make sure that you know how to install hurricane shutters on your home if you have them and that you know what evacuation zone you are in and which shelter you would evacuate to in the event that it becomes necessary. Consider getting a generator for your home. Making sure that your trees and shrubs are manicured will limit flying debris if a storm does hit. If you own a boat, check with your marina about their hurricane plans.
When a hurricane watch is issued, make sure to have cash on hand, purchase gasoline for generators and have each car filled up and refill any needed medications. In the event that a storm hits and power is out, ATMs, credit card readers and gas pumps may not work. Check supplies and make sure you have adequate water and food for your household; install shutters if you have them. Bring in lawn furniture and other outdoor items that could move. Pay close attention to local news and weather forecasts, because hurricanes can change course quite a bit before making landfall.
When a warning is issued, double check everything; if possible, fill clean bathtubs and other containers with water to have for hygiene needs like flushing toilets. If directed to evacuate, do it. The county hurricane guide has a list of items to take to a shelter if you are evacuated.
If a storm does hit and you are not evacuated, stay inside, in a room without windows if possible. It’s important to stay calm during a storm! Remember that Miami-Dade County has the toughest building code in the United States. After the storm, continue to pay attention to lo cal news and don’t leave your home until it’s known to be safe. If you have post-storm debris, check with the county website about debris pick up schedules. Make sure to follow any boil water orders or other safety directions issued by the county.
At any time, call 3-1-1 to reach a professional at Miami-Dade County’s office who can answer any questions you have so that you and your family get through hurricane season safely.