The forecast for the 2016 hurricane season is out, and the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-normal Atlantic
hurricane season. The season, which begins June 1 and ends November 30,
has a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms. Of these storms,
4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including
as many as 4 so serious that they could be classified as a Category 3,
4 or 5. However, the official forecasters have admitted that there is
some uncertainty in this outlook because it is unclear whether a few key
climate influences will end up supporting or hindering tropical storm
development. Regardless, even a near-normal prediction still translates
into more hurricane activity than the last three below-normal years –
and it only takes one storm to change your life.
To minimize that impact and keep your family safe, the No. 1 thing you
can do is to prepare. Making a plan in advance of severe weather can be
the difference between life and death. When a hurricane is heading your
way, there’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, and everyone
around you is also trying to accomplish the same objective – often
putting a strain on critical supplies. Of course, it’s very possible
that not everything will go smoothly even with a plan, but addressing
a few glitches is much easier in the moment than developing an entire
course of action in the face of an impending storm.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets!
These family members are safest with you, so take them to your meeting
spot. Never leave them behind to fend for themselves – it could
be weeks before you are allowed to return. If you have to utilize an evacuation
center, Miami-Dade offers pet owners residing in qualified evacuation
zones, unsafe structures, or mobile homes the opportunity to participate in
Pet-Friendly Evacuation Centers (PEC). Dogs and cats must be current on their rabies shots, and dogs must be
licensed. PECs also accept birds, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters,
mice, rats and small-sized rabbits.
Make sure your pet has an easy-to-read ID tag on their collar, crate, cage, etc.
Check out this
Disaster Preparedness Animal Supplies Checklist for more information.
Develop a family communications plan so you can send and receive information, especially since communication
networks and electricity may be disrupted during a hurricane. Create a
paper copy of the contact information for your family, doctors, schools,
veterinarians, daycares, and utility providers. Include someone outside
of your community or state who can act as a central connection point and
who will be unaffected if local phone lines are jammed. Give everyone
a copy to carry and post a copy on your fridge. Make sure the info is
in your cell phone too, and remember that texting may work even when voice
calls do not.
Identify emergency meeting places, because not everyone may be home or accessible when it becomes clear that
a damaging hurricane is on its way. Choose familiar places that can accommodate
family members with disabilities and pets if you have any. Pick a spot
in your home where everyone can go for protection, a neighborhood spot
in case you cannot get to your home, and a spot outside your neighborhood
in case your community is evacuated. Find out where the nearest
Hurricane Evacuation Centers are and the different ways you can get there, but they should be considered
only as a last resort. Practice drills on getting to your chosen spots
without relying on GPS technology.
Put together an emergency supply kit. Use coupons, sales, and buying in bulk with others to save money. Pack
an easy-to-carry container with a battery-powered radio, flashlights,
extra batteries, first-aid items, a set of multi-purpose tools, copies
of personal documents, cell phone chargers, extra cash, prescription medicines,
and enough water and non-perishable food for each person for three days.
You may also wish to stockpile materials such as plastic and plywood to
secure your home, keep trees and bushes trimmed to minimize damage, and
document your possessions for insurance purposes.
Even though the official hurricane season has begun, there is still plenty
of time for potential activity. NOAA will issue an updated outlook for
the Atlantic hurricane season in early August. Take a few moments now
to prepare. When the next major hurricane comes, you’ll be glad you did.
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. As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms, we
have helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities,
and remedies for over 45 years. We also work on a contingency basis, which
means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If
you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you,
we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 305-643-3100 or
filling out a case evaluation form.