Planning For Future Hurricanes

There has been a lot of discussion here in Florida about what should be done in the future to prepare for the increasing frequency of killer hurricanes. As the ocean gets warmer, more storms develop with stronger winds. Several weeks ago Hurricane Ian left swollen lakes and rivers in Florida that continue to have communities underwater. St. Johns River, the largest river in Florida, is not expected to recede until Thanksgiving. Further south areas like Fort Myers have been devastated by Ian’s winds and rains. Some displaced residents say they are leaving Florida for good.

For the future, we all need to re-assess the dangers of coastal living. Should communities allow re-building on barrier islands? Should low lying areas be left without homes? Should home owners on the coast be required to “lift” their homes by 3 feet to prevent future flooding? Clearwater did this several decades ago on Bay Drive after extensive flooding damage. These are hard questions, but they are necessary. Port Richey was originally developed on the river where the land is low lying. Back 10 years ago there were several years of bad flooding in that area. By the third year in a row, the city bought the homes and removed them. No one is allowed to build there.

There are also questions other communities in the country should consider. If you live in an area known as tornado alley or by a major river that can flood your town, what can be done to protect your home? Should certain areas not be re-built? Should local building codes require lifting foundations higher?

I’ve written before about emergency preparedness. You can check out the post, Get Ready for Emergencies with ideas and forms to fit any emergency. I often do a review post in May to remind everyone to re-check your emergency plan annually. Needs change.

Recommended steps

  1.  Check with your local emergency agency for information.  All states and counties have such an agency.  Follow their steps for disaster planning.
  2. Build a disaster supply kit or refresh your existing one.
  3. Make an emergency plan or update an existing one for your family and/or business.  This should include your pets.
  4. Follow emergency agencies on Twitter to receive up to date information at times of natural disaster.  See  Emergency Preparation for the list.

Part of any emergency plan includes:

Store Food and Water

One of the first things you should do in advance is to stock up with non-perishable food and water. Taste of Home has a great article, 15 Hurricane Foods To Stock Up. If there’s a serious storm heading your way, the time to prepare for a disaster is long before the storm hits. They’ve rounded up a list of non-perishable, no-cook hurricane foods to stock in your pantry ASAP. Your hurricane food kit should contain at least a three-day supply for each person in the house.  Choose food that requires little or no preparation, won’t need electricity to store or cook, and won’t spoil easily. It’s important to have enough water for everyone in the house. The standard supply is 1 gallon of water per person per day. Keep at least a 3 day supply.

Image by Nick Kwan via Pexels

Inspect Your Landscape

A falling tree can cause serious damage to your home. Therefore, it’s important that you make sure there are no tree limbs hanging over your roof. Cut back limbs before storm season. If a tree beside your home falls during a storm. your home could be destroyed. Plan trims and tree removal ahead of time This will ensure that you are as safe as possible in your home during the storm.

Inspect Your Home

You don’t want a storm to cause any damage that could have been prevented. It is important to check your roof, windows, and doors before any storm to prevent leaks. Add that to your spring home maintenance checklist. Consider what you can do to make your home safer.

Review & Update Your Emergency Plan

Choose a time annually to review your emergency plan and supplies. It’s important to check the expiration dates on your emergency supplies. The Red Cross has great information in their article, What Do You Need in a Survival Kit. Make sure everything is up-to-date. You do not want to be stuck at home in the dark with old batteries and expired food.

When I purchased my home 12 years ago, the front yard was dismal with gullies. My house is at the low point from both directions of my street. Every time it rained I watched my soil flow out of the yard into the sewer. There was a large golden rain tree with roots invading the sewer pipe in my yard. I removed that tree and another one that was leaning toward my neighbor’s car. I started a retaining wall at the sidewalk to prevent runoff of soil and flooding from the street. I added bags of top soil so grass would grow. That helps the erosion problem.

My street can flood easily if there is a lot of rain within a short time. I’m considering adding another layer of blocks to increase my protection. I am trying to evaluate the pros and cons of my home’s location. I’m not in zone A by the water. I’m in zone B. The previous owner of my home never had his yard flooded. It has happened frequently to me. The weather patterns are changing as we all know. Who knows what I’ll do in 2 years. Not me. Thanks for sharing my thoughts today.

This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.

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Carol

I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

6 thoughts to “Planning For Future Hurricanes”

  1. The hurricanes and the damage they cause is serious stuff in Florida. You bring up some really good points for consideration and some really good suggestions. I am a snowbird and spend 6 months in South Florida across from the beach. We have been lucky in the past 15 years but prior to that our building took quite a beating.

    1. Things are getting worse each year. I love Sanibal Island and it was under 5 feet of water at least. Should they rebuild? It’s very sad.

  2. This is so interesting to read. We don’t have hurricanes here but sometimes do have bad storms with lots of wind and rain. My youngest has been learning about hurricanes at school and the impact that they have. The change in weather is such a worry.

    1. You don’t have hurricanes as the ocean water around you is too cold. Hurricanes happen in the Atlantic around the Caribbean and typhons happen in the Pacific – but they’re the same thing. I’m glad you don’t have them!

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