The forecast for the 2015 hurricane season is out, and the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a below-normal Atlantic
hurricane season. The season, which begins June 1 and ends November 30,
has a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms, of which 3 to 6 could
become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including up to 2 hurricanes
classified as a Category 3, 4 or 5.
However, predictions of a below-normal season are no reason to think that
Florida’s coastal areas will have it easy.
None of us will soon forget the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, which was the first named storm to form in the "below-normal"
When Andrew initially materialized, it was a weak storm that many thought
would fall apart. Instead, it grew into a Category 5 hurricane only two
days before it struck South Florida, leaving most residents with little
time to prepare their homes and evacuate. Andrew taught the valuable lesson
that a season’s forecast for low storm activity doesn’t mean
people should be less prepared.
Many people along the Gulf coast have let their guard down since the U.S.
has not been hit with a major hurricane in nearly a decade, the longest
ever since scientists began keeping official records in 1851.
The biggest dangers from a hurricane are storm surge flooding, heavy rains,
damaging winds, tornadoes and rip currents. Strong winds and severe rain
can cause destruction hundreds of miles inland, while the ocean water
pushed by those winds onto the coast during storm surges is responsible
for about half of the U.S. lives lost to tropical cyclones since 1963.
While certain places are riskier than others, if you live in an area prone
to hurricanes, it’s important to be prepared.
It only takes one storm to change your life.
- At the beginning of hurricane season, meet with your family to create an
emergency plan and practice it.
- Think about what you will do if water, gas, electricity or phone service is off.
- Choose an out-of-state friend as a point of contact for everyone to call
if the family gets separated.
- Assemble an emergency supply kit in an easy-to-carry container stocked
with a weather radio, flashlight, batteries, first-aid items, a set of
multi-purpose tools, copies of personal documents, cell phone chargers,
extra cash and enough food and water for each person for three days.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has a great website dedicated
to helping families and businesses
“Get a Plan.”
If you are a pet owner, be sure that your disaster plan includes your animals.
Make sure your smartphone is set to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts from
the National Weather Service. These alerts are broadcast by nearby cell
towers, which means they are sensitive to your real-time geographic location.
The service sends 90-character messages that automatically pop up on your
phone using a unique ring tone and vibration. The messages will not disrupt
text, calls, or data sessions that are in progress and are rebroadcast
until the emergency situation has passed.
Getting Prepared for the Insurance Companies
Since it may be difficult to prove to your insurance company what was lost
in a hurricane, develop a home inventory ahead of time. Document your
possessions with photographs or video and keep that evidence in a safe
place outside your house. Be sure to update the list whenever you make
a significant purchase or get rid of a big-ticket item. This evidence
can be priceless if a hurricane strikes. Consider using free online software
that makes creating and keeping a home inventory easy by visiting
After a hurricane, property owners and businesses all turn to their insurance
companies with claims for coverage under commercial property insurance
policies, homeowner’s policies, and commercial general liability
insurance policies. Here at
Stabinski and Funt, P.A., we handle a wide range of hurricane-related insurance cases.
Whether you have a storm surge, wind damage, roof damage or water penetration
insurance claim on your house or business, we are prepared to fight for
you against insurance companies that have wrongfully denied or delayed
claims or failed to adequately cover the damage. If you are trying to
put your life back together after a hurricane or have more questions about
this topic, trust your case to the attorneys at Stabinski & Funt,
P.A. For 45 years, we have helped people understand their rights under
the law. Contact us by calling 305-643-3100 or filling out a
free case evaluation form.
DISCLAIMER: Any information about past verdicts and settlements is based
on the unique facts of each case. Every case is different, and future
cases may not achieve the same or similar results. These amounts reflect
the gross recovery (before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).