Whether you’re a resident, visitor, or somewhere in between, with hurricane season just around the corner, it’s important to make sure you are prepared in case a storm is headed our way. On that note, here are a few quick tips from the Key West Historic Seaport on preparing for hurricane season in Key West:
WHEN DOES HURRICANE SEASON BEGIN?
While the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts through November 30, generally speaking, a strong hurricane is most likely to occur between August 15 and October 1.
IS THIS YEAR EXPECTED TO BE AN ACTIVE SEASON?
Not surprisingly, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Specifically, forecasters state there is a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. While experts do not anticipate the kind of historic level of storm activity seen in 2020, there’s no such thing as 100% certainty when it comes to the weather. Floridians know this all too well!
WHAT IF A STORM IS COMING?
If you’re a resident, you should make preparations to secure your property, gasoline, cash, and food, and to notify family and friends of your plans. If you’re a resident and not within the immediate impact area for the most damaging winds, you may prefer to stay home and “ride out” the storm.
If you’re a visitor, local officials and the media will provide travel and weather advisories to lodging facilities about any evacuation orders.If evacuation is not mandatory, it will be up to you, your family, and/or fellow travelers to make the decision that’s best for your group.
WHEN IS EVACUATION MANDATORY?
Mandatory evacuation orders are given if there is a significant storm threat, and this order would apply to both residents and visitors.
“A storm that appears benign and doesn’t trigger an early evacuation makes a sudden turn, increases speed or intensifies significantly, and we are left with no time to get off the rock. The Labor Day storm of 1935 and more recently, Hurricane Michael, are prime examples,” says Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers.
WHAT ABOUT MY PROPERTY?
Whether or not you choose to evacuate, if you have property in Key West, it is crucial to understand the potential impact of high winds so you can best protect your homes and private property from wind damage. There are many ways to bolster a home against wind damage — while some preparation may require professional assistance, some are simple enough to do yourself (if you’re confused, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional – better safe than sorry!)
While we can’t predict which named storms we’ll see this year, the most significant action to take now to protect yourself and your loved ones is to make a plan, and make sure those around you are also prepared in case a storm is on the horizon.