Jun 1, 2023 - News

How to prepare for Florida's hurricane season

Water covers the streets and cars like a lake while palm trees and pastel buildings stick out of it .

Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian last September. Photo: Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Hurricane season is upon us yet again.

Why it matters: Preparing ahead now can save you time, money and loads of aggravation among anxious crowds at Costco when a storm hits.

What's happening: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a near-normal season — which ends Nov. 30 — with 12 to 17 named storms. (A tropical cyclone is a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms. It becomes a tropical storm when winds hit 39 mph or higher.)

  • Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes, meaning they have winds of 74 mph or higher.
  • One to 4 could become a major hurricane (category 3, 4, or 5), with winds of 111 mph or higher, per NOAA.

Be smart: The Florida Division of Emergency Management recommends having a disaster plan in place for your family and business.

  • Put together a disaster supply kit with items like food and water, first aid supplies, insurance documents, flashlights, batteries and medicine.
  • Know which evacuation zone you're in and have a battery-operated or hand-crank radio to receive alerts if the power goes out.
  • Keep gas tanks half full and electric vehicles charged at 50-80% capacity.
  • And be ready to help neighbors and friends.

Of note: Statewide sales tax is waived on items such as batteries, radios, generators, soaps and pet supplies through June 9.

  • A second sales tax holiday runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8.

Between the lines: The World Meteorological Organization has lists of names for each of the basins where tropical cyclones form.

  • For the Atlantic, it cycles through the same six lists except when the name of a major storm is retired; then an international WMO committee chooses a replacement at its annual meeting.
  • This year, get ready to meet tropical storms Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert and more.
  • Andrew, Wilma, Ian and Katrina are all retired.
  • In our region, male and female names alternate. In the Northern Indian Ocean, the names are gender-neutral.

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