Sunday, May 10, 2015

It is that time of year again

It is that time of year again. We have been very fortunate for the last decade, with no major storms like we had back in 2004. But hurricane season is upon us nonetheless. Miguel de Cervantes is purportedly said "forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory." Not a bad motto when it comes to tropical weather.

It is time to be prepared. I cannot say there will be a Florida storm or storms this 2015 season, but no one can say for sure there will not be. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) holds a Hurricane Preparedness Week every year. This year it is May 24 through May 30. They warn us that the season runs June 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015. That does not explain how tropical storm Ana formed last week off the east coast, almost a month ahead of the season. I hope she is not a harbinger of things to come. You can always see what NWS is predicting here. My favorite words on their website are "no tropical storm activity predicted." Good news always. 

How can you prepare?  The Weather Service site has good pointers. Number one is "use common sense." A bit of humor from Ron White. He describes a discussion with a man who had lashed himself to an object intending to "ride out" a storm. He says he reminded the man that "it is not THAT the wind blows, it is WHAT the wind blows." A fair point. Get out of the way if you can.

The Weather Service has specific tips. The recommend gathering information, making a plan, understanding when and how to evacuate, and the recovery. 

The Red Cross has some ideas on their website. They divide their advice likewise into learning about the storms, preparing for the storms, responding during the storms, and recovering after. There is a wealth of information on this site.

Ready.gov  has much of the same information. Its advice on building your emergency kit and making a family communication plan are worth the read. Extrapolating from that advice, making an office communication plan is likely not a bad idea either. 

The Centers for Disease Control provide some wisdom on its site regarding the essentials of food and medicine. Their focus is broad and informative. 

Finally, visit CNN's hurricane preparation page. They have photos of the results of "killer hurricanes." The names bring back bad memories. Remember Ike, Katrina, Rita, Charley (Florida 2004), Frances (Florida 2004), Jeanne (Florida 2004), Ivan (Florida 2004), Andrew (Florida 1992), Camille, Donna (Florida 1960), the "Great Miami" (Florida 1926), and Galveston? 

Note how many of those killers hit Florida. We live in a paradise, but it can be a dangerous paradise. Now is the time to think about what could come between now and Thanksgiving. I hope then we can look back and be thankful that 2015 did not deliver us any significant storms. But as we look forward to that, let's spend a little time in May getting prepared just in case. 

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