While many residents of the Tampa Bay area have heard about waterspouts and tornadoes forming during and around a hurricane, most of us tend to think of tornadoes as separate weather events. In other words, homeowners frequently assume that tornadoes can form when certain types of thunderstorms occur, but we do not always consider the risks of tornado damage when preparing for a devastating hurricane. As many Tampa residents know, Hurricane Irma recently made its way near the Tampa-St. Petersburg area as a Category 1 hurricane, according to an article in Business Insider. Yet while West Central Florida homeowners were preparing for high winds and flooding associated with the hurricane, many Floridians also learned that they were under tornado watches and warnings.
National and local weather agencies are taking additional steps to help Florida residents better comprehend the risks associated with tropical cyclones. Beginning with the 2017 hurricane season (which starts June 1), the National Hurricane Center will issue storm surge alerts, with maps of affected areas.
At this moment, Hurricane Matthew is fast approaching Florida and is expected to hit landfall on Friday. This Category 4 storm could very well wreak havoc on homes all along the east coast of Florida, causing storm and water damage, which is why it's important to consider following these six steps:
Residents of West Florida recently braced as Hurricane Hermine plowed into the Gulf of Mexico. Shifting rapidly from a tropical depression to a hurricane, the storm threatened to do significant hurricane damage to Florida's Gulf Coast. As a recent article in USA Today pointed out, Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in 11 years. It touched down as a Category 1 hurricane "just south of Apalachicola, Fla., dumped heavy rain, and sustained winds of 80 miles per hour," the article reported. While the maximum sustained winds reached only 80 miles per hour, gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were recorded. The last hurricane to strike Florida was Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in 2005.
In the middle of winter, most Floridians are not yet thinking about the risks associated with hurricane season and the need to prepare our homes for impending bad weather. However, according to a recent article in Tampa Bay Newspapers Weekly, the winter months are as good a time as any to prepare for severe weather and hurricane insurance claims. Indeed, the last week in February has been deemed Severe Weather Awareness Week, during which local emergency management services partner with the National Weather Service to raise awareness about the risks of property and bodily damage in Florida when severe weather strikes.
Even though it is winter in Florida (and well outside the time period for anticipating a hurricane), it is never too early to think about whether your home and personal property are prepared for the start of hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center makes clear that hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th, and as such Southwest Florida residents do not need to worry about the risk of hurricane damage during the winter months. However, according to an article from CBS Moneywatch, some aspects of hurricane preparation can take months. It is never too early to begin preparing your home for one of these devastating storms.