Officially, hurricane & tropical storm season started on June 1st. If last year was any indication of what future storm waves will look like, we should heed the warning and recognize that there has been an increase in the frequency & intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes over past storm cycles.
For example, this year on May 25th, Subtropical Storm Alberto formed, following a pattern from the past 4 consecutive years where we have seen tropical storms develop before the official start of the season.
“While the Atlantic hurricane season officially start[ed] June 1st, the best time to make preparations is now, before the Atlantic and Gulf become more active and a storm threatens,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech (Spring 2018).
This season, and going forward into future seasons, we all need to take storm preparation more seriously. Rather than waiting until the storms are days from arriving, we must make sure we have taken the necessary steps to be prepared.
Miami-Dade County is especially vulnerable to these storm waves, with the evacuation order for Hurricane Irma being the largest evacuation order in U.S. history. Many people fled to Orlando and Tampa, but county officials recommend evacuating somewhere more local. This helps reduce traffic flows, and in the event the storm hits, allows residents and evacuees to return to their neighborhoods and properties sooner to assess storm damage.
Homeowners and property owners need to take extra steps to ensure their properties are ready for this season as it has already arrived. Walking through your property to assess hazardous trees and high risk tree limbs that can jeopardize structures on the property are critical to being prepared for this season. Once the threats are assessed, ensure you contact ISA certified arborists to trim the trees to ensure optimal resiliency in the event the storms pass through your area. After the storm passes, assessing the tree health and any damages are critical to deciding whether the trees are worth saving and rehabilitating or removing entirely. Know that native subtropical tree species have evolved to endure tropical storms and hurricanes, but other exotic trees were not adapted for this environment and have a greater risk of being damage in the event of a strong storm.
Other steps to being prepared for this storm season are engaging with your community, family, and friends to have a plan in place, maybe planning a hurricane party in a safe space, or knowing who will need help or who can help you. Having a go bag with necessary first aid, antibiotics, and medications, as well as other survival supplies, including flashlights, extra batteries, compact tools, and radio if possible. Once the bag is ready, keep it somewhere safe, and refresh the supplies as needed.
Ultimately, being prepared for this storm season will save you time, money, and energy in recovering in the event that we experience another Super Storm Wave as we did last season.