Living in the Sunshine State is not without its perks. Floridians enjoy warm weather year-round, not to mention the many attractions such weather affords, including days at the beach and an abundance of outdoor activities. Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and daisies. Although Florida may not be known for the snow and freezing temperatures that plague northern climes, the state sees its fair share of inclement weather in the way of thunderstorms, hurricanes, and resultant flooding. Here are some tips and reminders to keep our families, pets and homes safe when unpredictable weather strikes.
Unpredictable weather is, by definition, random and intermittent. During the spring and summer, for example, one could almost set a watch by afternoon storms, which cloud the skies, produce thunder, lightning, and downpours, and then clear up again in a matter of minutes. Tampa residents prepare by keeping rain gear handy. However, this won’t help in the event of more serious weather events like a hurricane.
Florida hurricane season runs from mid-summer to mid-fall. Some seasons are milder than others, but rare is the hurricane season that sees not a single storm make landfall. Therefore, it’s just a matter of when and how devastating it will be. As the hurricane season winds down, it still brings the threat of flooding and wind damage to homes. Homeowners can prepare to stave off catastrophe in a number of ways.
Preparing a home requires the reinforcing of weak points. Storm shutters can be added to windows to combat the effects of driving rain, gusty winds, and flying debris. There are many stylish shutters, but most homeowner associations require pre-approval from their architectural committee prior to installation. Homeowners should also check weather stripping around windows and doors, conduct a roofing inspection annually prior to stormy weather, and if necessary, clean, inspect, and repair gutters and downspouts. Homes that have suffered flooding in the past could benefit from sandbagging which most communities provide for free. As for the homeowners stuck inside, several days’ worth of rations, including clean water, are a must, as are basic medical supplies, batteries for electronics, and a radio that can continue to receive news and weather reports even when the power is out.
However, if a major storm and flooding for your area is anticipated, a good evacuation plan is often the best preparation. When evacuation orders are issued, homeowners should be prepared to leave immediately, meaning overnight bags, ample food and water, and portable valuables should already be packed in the car. In truth, families watching dire weather warnings may be better off heading out of town before such evacuations become necessary and the roadways and other transportation hubs become packed.
In closing, should you choose to remain until the bitter end, children and pets should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Speaking of pets…this is one of the many helpful links to help you protect and care for your pets.
For most of the year, the city of Tampa is a beautiful and hospitable place to call home. When inclement weather strikes, however, homeowners must be prepared.
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