What do you do to prepare for hurricane season? Do you take an inventory of your belongings? Purchase flood insurance? Plan where to evacuate in case the storm comes right over your location? If you are like many Floridians, according to a recent AAA poll, you do none of the above. In fact, you probably don’t do anything at all. This article in Governing.com describes what Floridians do plan to do and what thresholds of storm strength make them pay attention.
With hurricanes that occur over a longer season and that can intensify very rapidly (like Hurricane Michael in 2018), you may not have much time to prepare once a storm threatens you, so it is important to think about your plans well before you need to act. There are many resources available to help you with your plans, including the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), FEMA, and NOAA. The Southeast Regional Climate Hub (USDA) has a set of hurricane preparedness guides for different states and commodities at https://www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/southeast/topic/hurricane-preparation-and-recovery-southeast-us. UGA has guides for residents to prepare for natural hazards at https://extension.uga.edu/content/dam/extension/topic-areas/timely-topics/emergencies-and-disasters/Residents-Natural-Hazards-Handbook.pdf and https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1428 that are generally applicable to the entire Southeast. South Carolina also has an excellent guide at https://scemd.org/media/1487/hurricaneguide2020-85x11_english.pdf. If other states have additional resources, please email them to me and I will add them to this post.
This is the first week of the official 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, and we already have our first named storm in TS Arlene today. While Arlene does not provide a significant threat to the US and even to Cuba other than some gusty winds and rain, the next storm might be much worse and could be aimed at somewhere in the Southeast. Take some steps now to get ready for the storm that will affect you later this year.