Today marks the start of the 2009 Northeast Pacific Hurricane Season.
Living in Central Florida, we have another 15 days to wait until the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins, but we have done a few things to prepare already. A few months ago, we wrote an article asking Are you prepared? which gives you a general, getting started list, as well as common sense tips and tricks that people who have lived in Hurricane prone areas should already know. We know not everyone has lived in Florida all their lives — as a matter of fact, most “Florida Natives” have moved on, giving way to the “snow birds” and people who move here for our wonderful weather. We need to help those new residents understand what it means to live in Florida (or any hurricane prone area) during Hurricane Season.
After Andrew in 1992, South Florida remembered what it was to be in the path of a major hurricane, and became more vigilant in not only their reporting, but in their hurricane preparedness community awareness programs. Central Florida in 2004 was struck by 4 hurricanes, with each storm passing over the center of the state in a criss cross fashion. Louisiana had a perfect storm scenario with Katrina in 2005 which showed the residents why Hurricane Parties were really created – to get the community together, prepare and then wait out the storm.
Each region of the Atlantic and Golf of Mexico coast has its own story. But what about the Caribbean? Last year, no fewer than 4 hurricanes or tropical storms crossed through the Caribbean, striking Cuba multiple times, and flooding the islands. Some of the worst flooding was from Fay, which moved slowly over the region and caused floods from the Caribbean islands to northern Florida. Ike and Paloma were the largest strength storms, both Category 4 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and both were hurricanes which struck Cuba.
History tells us a lot about how to prepare. Learning from our mistakes is a great human trait we all have, which enables us to adjust to our changing environment. Hurricanes are great and wonderfully powerful beasts which can take us from being the most technologically advanced people, back to the equivalent of a third world country, or at best, camping. Preparing like you are going TENT camping for at least a week, with no chance to re-stock or re-supply is the best way to handle preparing for a hurricane. Everything you need should be on hand. Remember: no power means no electronics. Even cell phones only last a very short time until the battery backups at the cellular towers die. You might have extra batteries or power supplies, but if you can’t get a connection, your device will not help you.
Preparing for hurricane season may seem like a waste when hurricanes seemingly never strike. What happens though, if a hurricane does strike this year? Will you be prepared? The government CANNOT be your keeper. When disaster strikes, the best way to get through it is by neighbors helping neighbors.