According to the Weather Channel this 2015 hurricane season may be one of the calmest seasons in the Atlantic in years. It’s hard to tell so early on, but hurricane experts have taken into account sea level pressure and temperatures along with other factors, such as the fact that last hurricane season was the mildest in seventeen years, and they’ve concluded that this year will most likely not be too stormy with the number of named storms and hurricanes staying below historical averages. A total of nine named storms, five hurricanes and one major hurricane are expected this season, according to the forecast prepared by The Weather Channel Professional Division. This is below the 30-year average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
It’s said that since 2014 and 2015 have had significantly cooler winters in the Atlantic area, storms won’t be as fueled by the typically warm tropical sea temperatures. The winds in the Atlantic Basin have also been growing stronger thus disrupting the rising tropical storm development.
Develop a plan and pay attention
The first step in preparing for hurricane season is having a plan and being aware of incoming weather by paying attention to weather reports. Understand the caliber of the storm and the risks of flooding. Understanding the level of the storm is key in deciding whether your house can weather the storm or if it’s best to evacuate. Pay attention to local news and officials for instructions on evacuation routes. At the beginning of the season make sure you know the location and contact information of the nearest hospital, fire house, police station, etc. Every Floridian should have an emergency stash of water, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable foods, a first aid kit and any medications you may need. It’s always a good idea to keep a stash of candles and board games as well. If you have a pet don’t forget to prepare for them. Have enough food and water for them as well and keep in mind most evacuation shelters don’t accept dogs unless the owner has a disability that requires the animal.
Churches help out
Individuals, families and public servants aren’t the only ones preparing for the imminent hurricane season. Churches in the South Florida area are also formulating plans to assist their members and the people of the community. For example, First Baptist at Weston (FBW) has taken into account all the devastating possibilities of a hurricane hitting locally. They’ve made facility upgrades such as hurricane proof windows, they carry hurricane insurance and they’ve enacted data backup procedures. FBW also has access to funds specifically set aside for post-hurricane support. All of the congregation members are connected to an automated phone and email communication system designed to alert them of the church’s plan for the onset of a hurricane. And in the past, the church has partnered with the city of Weston and served as a community command centre as well as a shelter, and they’re prepared to do the same thing in the future. They also provide benevolence support.
The church is prepared to serve not only the local community, but anyone who is in need. Previously they volunteered to help local residents who had difficulty with preparations by putting up shutters and helping install stronger windows. FBW also served as a major support for the people of Cuba after the four major hurricanes hit Central America. They used government contacts they had obtained though mission and humanitarian efforts to help deliver thousands of dollars in funding to Cuba in an effort to supply food and relief to the hurting citizens.
As the impending hurricane season approaches, be sure that you keep up with the news so that you’re perpetually aware of oncoming storms. Start preparing now, at the beginning of the season, instead of rushing in the last few days before a hurricane when lines are long and supplies become scarce. Make sure you have all the necessary preventative protections and insurance as well as supplies. Like First Baptist at Weston, most local churches have a plan on how to help their members and the community. Research your options for shelter and develop an emergency plan for the hurricane season so you know all your options in the event of a storm. For more information on storm preparation, evacuation and recovery visit nhc.noaa.gov.
Gabriella Morris is a home-school student and a Good News Intern. She can be reached at [email protected].