Florida weather, there is no definition. Starting every June we go into a tailspin. The sun comes out then its gone and the thunder starts. The sun comes out and the skys are blue but it is pouring rain. It is raining on you but not on the woman standing across the street from you. At 3:00 pm the rain starts and it pours for 20 minutes every day. This is something a Floridian gets used to. We all have heard the saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes”, well this is the place it fits best.
From June 1 to November 30, Florida enters the rainy season, better known as hurricane season. The heat and humidity give way to thundering downpours. This is not much of a worry because those downpours cool the air and the sun comes out to greet you for your afternoon activities.
During this time period the storms start to form in the Atlantic and Caribbean. We in Vero Beach do not have to take much notice of them until mid to late August. At the beginning of hurricane season, most storms form and travel toward the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunate for the west coast, but we on the east get our 3:00 pm storm. As the winds shift in August and September, the east coast begins preparing. This is the time period we are entering now. This should not scare you. Indian River County is in a great location and has not had a major storm since 2005. The idea though is to prepare, just in case.
In September 2004, Vero Beach was hit directly by two hurricanes. It was also hit indirectly by three. In essence a hurricane was affecting the town for about 2 months straight. In 2005 we were hit by one late season hurricane that did its damage and moved away. From these two years we as a county and a town have learned a lot.
Hurricane preparedness is very important.
1. Food is very important. Stock up on canned food and bottled drinks. Try to have enough food in your home for at least 3 days. If there is damage outside, it can take up to 3 days to restore power and open stores.
2. Water is essential. You need to gather 3 to 5 gallons of water for each person per day for at least 3 days. If the storm affects the city drinking water, you need to have enough until they are able to clean it and get water to the masses again.
3. Flashlights, candles and battery operated devices. It is almost guaranteed that the electricity will go out. You need to have light available to you. Since there might not be electricity you need to have a radio that is battery operated so you can get further instructions. Also, your portable phone will not work you need to make sure you have a phone that is hard wired into the wall.
4. If you have a generator, please remember to run it outside. DO NOT run a generator in an enclosed area. This will cause a buildup of carbon monoxide and can be lethal. It is best to have gathered at least 3 days worth of gas for the generator. Speaking from mine, 3 days would be 15 gallons. This is not running the generator constantly. Constant use will take much more gas. The new laws that have been enacted since 2004 say that all gas stations need to have generators, so they should be up and running within 1 to 2 days.
5. If a storm is coming it is best to have some cash on hand. If there is no electricity, there is no ATM. There will be no credit card machines either. Have enough cash for at least 2 days.
6. If you evacuate and you cannot take your animals with you, please make sure someone is aware that they are there. At first chance someone can get to your animals to help them.
7. If you have an elderly or sick person in your household, try to get them to a hospital, or a hospital evacuation area. They will be best taken care of there.
8. If you choose to evacuate your home, there are shelters throughout the county. Remember to bring clothing, bedding and some food with you to the shelter. If you have pets, the Humane Society of Vero Beach is the best place to board.
These are just helpful hints to prepare for a disaster. It is better to be ready for it, then to be caught by surprise and not know what to do.
For now enjoy the afternoon rain storms, but until the end of November be prepared.