Monday, April 28, 2014

Tis the Season to be . . . Prepared

It was a tough weekend around the country. Tornadoes tore through Arkansas; at least 16 are dead. Oklahoma reports one dead from a tornado there. Storms in North Carolina yesterday are responsible for the death of an infant and damage to more than 200 homes.
It was a beautiful day at the beach here yesterday, a "chamber of commerce" day. That we can enjoy such weather while others are devastated is troubling. We Floridians can empathize with destructive weather. We have lived with it many times, with multiple storm strikes some summers.

I am no fan of tropical storms or hurricanes. However, we are fortunate at least that we get significant warning of these weather events, unlike tornadoes. With that in mind, we are fools if we fail to take full advantage of the warning we receive.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. So, ware about a month from the start of the season. Fortunately, the 2014 season is predicted to be "quiet." The forecasters from Colorado State University predict that nine tropical storms will form, and only three will become hurricanes in 2014.

According to the USA Today, these "top forecasters" have not been very accurate in the last couple of years. They note that in 2012 the actual storm activity was double what the forecasters predicted. In 2013, they predicted nine hurricanes, and only two formed.
So, we cannot necessarily count on the predictions. More importantly, even if they are correct and only three become hurricanes this season, that is of little solace if one of those three comes to your town.

The National Weather Service provides information on specific storm formation and tracking. This website should be in every Floridian's internet "favorites." This information is very valuable and will help you know when your town may be threatened.

The National Hurricane Center also provides tips on being prepared for hurricanes. They recommend that you prepare in advance. Compile a list of resources. If an evacuation is ordered, where will you go, and how will you remain in contact during your absence? How will you return to your home and work after the storm and communicate with your family, friends, and coworkers?

I recommend that you review the OJCC emergency closure procedures now. If the OJCC must take action in response to a storm, we will communicate that on the OJCC website, on this blog, and through Twitter (there is a link to "follow us" on Twitter on the OJCC website www.fljcc.org). Talk with those with whom you work regarding how your company or firm will react if the worst happens. Update your contact list. Discuss how you will receive news and stay in contact with family, neighbors, friends and work.

In short, let's take advantage of the fact that we get warning when hurricanes are coming. Unlike those who face tornadoes, we will get days of notice if weather threatens this summer. Make a plan, be prepared, and keep in touch. If we can assist you with understanding how we will react in the event of an emergency, please feel free to contact me, david.langham@doah.state.fl.us.

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