Government officials and emergency responders are imploring Floridians to be prepared this year.
WEST PALM BEACH — Following last year’s most destructive hurricane season on record, government officials and emergency responders are imploring Floridians to be prepared should the state experience another nightmarish season marked by prolonged power outages, fuel shortages and potentially deadly storm surge.
As the start of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season looms, state and federal officials encouraged residents to stock up on supplies to sustain them for several days without electricity, have evacuation plans in place if they live in a mandatory evacuation zone and ensure their homes are properly insured in the event of flooding or severe wind damage. Officials issued the stern warning on Wednesday at the 32nd annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference taking place in West Palm Beach this week — the country’s largest tropical cyclone gathering attended by officials from more than 30 states and 12 foreign countries.
“By having this conference and doing what you do, you have helped this state, in particular, respond in the right manner and get back to work quickly,” Gov. Rick Scott said to hundreds of emergency workers and government officials at the conference’s general session. “Irma was very scary and it could have been devastating, but everybody worked together.”
With the conference theme of “Readiness is Everyone’s Job” in mind, meteorologists and emergency workers encouraged local government officials and the media to emphasize the need to be prepared for another potentially calamitous season. Weather experts from Colorado State University — regarded as the nation’s top hurricane forecasters — predict another active season with 14 named tropical storms, seven of them hurricanes. A tropical storm reaches hurricane status when wind speeds top 73 mph. Of the seven predicted hurricanes, three are expected to churn into major hurricanes — Category 3, 4 or 5 — with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or greater. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue its forecast for the season on May 24.