In the middle of winter, most Floridians are not yet thinking about the risks associated with hurricane season and the need to prepare our homes for impending bad weather. However, according to a recent article in Tampa Bay Newspapers Weekly, the winter months are as good a time as any to prepare for severe weather and hurricane insurance claims. Indeed, the last week in February has been deemed Severe Weather Awareness Week, during which local emergency management services partner with the National Weather Service to raise awareness about the risks of property and bodily damage in Florida when severe weather strikes.
Learning More About Severe Weather in Winter
Typically, severe weather does not strike Central or West Florida in the early months of the year. Yet it is important to remember that weather patterns are not always predictable, and severe storms-even hurricanes-can form unexpectedly and can cause serious property damage if you are not prepared. Indeed, as an article in Florida Today recently pointed out, most of us are not even thinking about the word “hurricane” in January or February. However, earlier this year, the National Hurricane Center reported on Hurricane Alex, the first hurricane of 2016 that formed in the Atlantic. At its strongest, the hurricane had maximum sustained winds of about 140 kilometers per hour. Although the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm just a little over a day later, it nonetheless posed serious threats of property damage to Floridians.
Hurricane Alex was the first named storm since 1978 to form in the Atlantic basin in January. According to a report from BBC News, this hurricane likely resulted from the weather conditions created by this year’s El Niño, which has been described as “unusually strong.” To be sure, BBC News indicated that the 2015 El Niño is actually ranked “among the three strongest recorded since 1950.”
While the phenomenon occurs every two to seven years on average, it does not typically result in winter hurricanes forming in the Atlantic. Nonetheless, residents of Florida should be aware that these relatively rare hurricanes can indeed impact them outside the timeline of a typical hurricane season.
Community Awareness About Severe Weather in West and Central Florida
What is involved in raising awareness about severe storms and hurricane preparedness? In short, it is important to know what you will need to stay healthy and safe in the event that a hurricane hits. A checklist from the Florida Division of Emergency Management prepared specifically for severe weather awareness emphasizes that Floridians should keep the following items in supply, particularly when a hurricane has already formed in the Atlantic:
● At least one gallon of water per person per day (for up to seven days);
● Non-perishable food, including canned goods;
● Non-electric can opener;
● Blankets and pillows;
● First aid kit;
● Prescription medications;
● Toiletry items;
● Flashlights and an ample supply of batteries;
● Extra keys to your home, car, and office;
● Important documents;
● Full tank of gas in your car; and
● Necessary items to care for your pets.
When you sustain serious property damage in a hurricane or other severe storm, it is important to seek compensation for your losses. If you have already filed an insurance claim and have been denied, an experienced West Central Florida hurricane damage lawyer can assist you with your case. Do not hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced advocates. Contact the Valrico Law Group today to learn more about how we can help.