A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that have reached a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more. The eye of a storm is usually 20-30 miles wide and may extend more than 400 miles. The dangers of a storm include torrential rains, high winds and storm surges. A hurricane can last for two weeks or more over open water and can run a path across the entire length of the eastern seaboard.
- The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30 of each year.
- Historically, the most active time for hurricane development is mid-August through mid-October.
Florida is the hurricane capital of the United States. No matter where you live in the Sunshine State, you are vulnerable to the effects of a hurricane.
Hurricane Irma - 2017
Most of us in the Florida Keys experienced Hurricane Irma, which made landfall on Cudjoe Key on Sept. 10, 2017 as a Category 4 storm. It was the strongest hurricane to strike the Keys since Hurricane Donna in 1960.
Many of us also were not prepared for a storm of that magnitude, which destroyed homes, businesses and led to the death -- either directly or indirectly -- of 17 people in the Keys.
By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Pre-season forecasts can estimate how many storms may develop within a given season, but they cannot tell where storms will make landfall.
Hurricane Watches & Warnings
Tropical system hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and flooding. These are all threats to the Sunshine State during hurricane season and this means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. The National Hurricane Center will issue tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings when these conditions are:
- Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours
- Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours
- Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds
- Hurricane Warning: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds
Now is the time to make preparations so that you can protect yourself, your home and your business in the event that a tropical system threatens Monroe County. Residents and visitors should stay informed of the latest information during an approaching storm by signing up for Alert!Monroe and monitoring Monroe County Emergency Management information sources and trusted local information outlets. Be prepared and know when to put your family disaster plan into action. The best way for residents to make their families, homes and businesses safer is to be prepared before a disaster happens.
For information on hurricanes, contact the Monroe County Information Hot Line at (800) 955-5504.
Develop a Plan & Build a Supply Kit
A personal disaster plan and a well-stocked disaster supply kit are essential tools to ensure your family’s safety and security during a hurricane. Residents and businesses can prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season now by going to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, where you can create a personal disaster plan and a business disaster plan.
Building a disaster supply kit is a simple and effective way to make sure a family has enough water, food, medicine and other essential supplies when other resources may not be readily available. Different families have different needs, so residents need to be sure to take into account their family’s specific needs.
Another important outlet you can use to help your family prepare for this hurricane season is www.Ready.gov/kids. This fun, interactive website presents basic weather safety and emergency preparedness concepts through age-appropriate activities and stories. While online, kids can play games that teach them how to build a disaster supply kit and understand other essential safety facts.