My fellow Floridians know this time of year very well. Its Hurricane Season. We already know the weather forecast before hearing it (hot with a 110% of rain). What we really pay attention to are the Doppler radar images of the Gulf and Atlantic. Those images remind us of the storms we have lived through such as Andrew in 1992, Katrina in 2005, and Irma in 2017. We are hurricane pros (we tell ourselves), others look to us to see what to do when the winds blow.
The truth is, most of us DON'T know what we are doing.
Most people do not have an emergency plan in the event of a hurricane. Last year, first responders found many people who were under mandatory evacuation did not, in fact, evacuate. I had first hand experience of this during Hurricane Irma when the Riverside area of Jacksonville flooded. My sister and her family decided to abandon their home when the St Johns River rose above the banks and began flooding their street. After we canoed the children up the block we went back for habitants of the apartment complex behind her home. To my surprise, everyone was home! One elderly woman on the first floor of the building which other residents had eagerly asked us to help answered the door with about 2 feet of water in her apartment. Even then she declined our invitation to get to dry land.
We have been incredibly lucky with the severity of the storms that have affected our area but that has given us a false sense of security. This year we want to treat the season with a sense of caution. We will be publishing a how-to guide on our website to help you and your family prepare for the worst and provide tips to get you through the worst of what nature can dish out. If there is one thing we hope you do (differently) this year, it is to have a plan!