Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Before hurricane season, prepare for the worst

The eastern United States has been in a cycle of increased hurricane activity since 1995, a cycle that could continue another 25 years. But Florida has gone seven years without a direct hit. What does this mean for this upcoming season? We asked Dennis Feltgen, spokesman and meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center.

 

Will we be lucky again this year?

We're in an active period, so unless there is an El Niño (warm surface water in the eastern Pacific Ocean) that will suppress the hurricanes, we have to assume we'll get hit. We've been in active periods where hurricanes haven't hit landfall at all. You can't predict that, long-range. You have to go into the season thinking this is the year that Florida and Tampa Bay could be impacted.

Florida has not been hit with a hurricane since 2005, since Wilma. We've never gone this long before. I'd like to go for longer but that's not up to me . . . The odds are going to catch up with us. We have to be prepared for the fact . . . Tampa Bay hasn't been impacted with a major hurricane since 1921. Statistically, it's way overdue for a major hurricane, but we don't know if that's going to be 2013, 2015 or later. We have to be prepared that this is the year.

 

What is your biggest concern going into this season?

We're always concerned with the fact that people along the coast would be in denial. They think if they didn't get hit last year, then they won't get hit this year. People who have been impacted by the fringe of the hurricane think that's what a hurricane is all about. No, not even close.

 

What else worries you?

They're not just a coastal event; we're also worried about the impact inland. Hurricanes cause a lot of rainfall, and tornadoes spin off of hurricanes as well, which means people inland and in Polk County would need to be prepared.

They need to have a hurricane plan just like folks along the coast. They have the other three hurricane threats to deal with, and that of course is hurricane-force winds, flooding and tornados. Are you in an area that floods? Do you have an evacuation plan? Is your insurance up to date?

 

What's the key to preparation?

You don't want to have to make decisions about your home, your family and your supplies when the hurricane warning sign is up. By then it's too late. Do you really want to be standing in a line at Home Depot and Publix? No, you're going to want to have all of your supplies ready way before the season starts.

 

What is the National Hurricane Center doing to raise public awareness?

We work very closely with our media outlets. You have a great group of TV outlets. We continually update our website ( nhc.noaa.gov). We have a social media presence, but it really comes down to personal responsibility. You have to take responsibility for yourself.

 

What preparations are most neglected by Floridians?

Making sure they have enough insurance. That's always an issue in the state of Florida.

Also, making sure they have plenty of supplies. Remember when the power goes out, you're not going to have refrigeration. You're not going to be able to cook. You're not going to be able to charge your cell phones. You need backups for this and enough food, water and medicine to last seven days. People think they can go a day, but it may be a whole lot longer than that. When you go to the grocery store, there are a lot of 2-for-1 deals out there. Start stocking up now.

People always forget to have cash. When the power goes out, there go the ATMs. You're going to need cash.

Make sure your car is in working order. Never let your gas tank drop below a half a tank in hurricane season.

 

How did Superstorm Sandy affect preparations?

It was a real wakeup call for folks that were impacted by Sandy, particularly when it comes to storm surge. We haven't seen that kind of surge in generations. It was a real wake-up call of the power of water. It points a real ugly finger at the dangers of storm surge in a hurricane and the real need for preparation.

 

How can people prepare for storm surge?

Obviously, you would need to get out, and the emergency managers did a great job on that. A great lesson from Sandy is the impact of water and just how powerful it is.

 

Anything else we should know?

Just prepare, prepare, prepare.

Before hurricane season, prepare for the worst 05/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa driver dies after swerving off Interstate 4 into canal

    Accidents

    PLANT CITY — A Tampa driver swerved off Interstate 4 Wednesday morning, plunging into a canal in a fatal crash, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

  2. Editorial: Scott should keep demanding better for seniors in nursing homes

    Editorials

    The horrific story of elderly Floridians dying from the heat in a Broward County nursing home after surviving Hurricane Irma grows more outrageous. Even as a ninth death has been reported, the nursing home blames the state and has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott's move to prevent it from accepting new …

    Even as a ninth death has been reported, the nursing home blames the state and has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s move to prevent it from accepting new patients or Medicaid payments.
  3. DCF announces $133 million in federal aid for low-income families who lost food during Irma

    Hurricanes

    An additional $133 million is being distributed to Florida low-income families to help replace food destroyed by Hurricane Irma, the Florida Department of Children and Families announced today.

    The United States Department of Agriculture has made $133 million available to Florida low-income families to help them replace food damaged during Hurricane Irma
  4. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Luis Flores, executive chef at Ciccio Restaurant Group, prepares an Impossible Burger at Epicurean Hotel's Food Theatre. Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that will launch on Sept. 27, 2017 in all the Ciccio Restaurant Group locations, except for Fresh Kitchen. "This burger caters to the carnivorous, not just the vegetarians" said Jeff Gigante, co-founder at Ciccio Restaurant Group. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  5. Plan your weekend: Sept. 22-24: Buffyfest, Arcade Fire, Howl-O-Scream, Wanderlust 108 and 'Rent'

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Pop show

    Florida Björkestra's Buffyfest: Pop culture meets pop music when the Florida Björkestra, a 20-piece alternative-classical ensemble that tributes ground-breaking pop artists, on Saturday will play with eight vocalists for "Once More with …

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.