Today marks the official start to the Atlantic Hurricane season and a new study says more Floridians are preparing than in previous years.
Perhaps it has to do with the uncomfortably close brush with Hurricane Matthew last year, but according to the 2017 AAA Consumer Pulse Survey released Wednesday, 77 percent of residents are beginning to make preparations ahead of the season, which is up 17 percent from last year.
“Generally, in years that we don’t have [major] storms or don’t have a very active season, the numbers stay relatively stagnant,” said Josh Carrasco, an AAA spokesman. “A lot of that [increase] has to do with a very active hurricane season last year.”
Last year, hurricane Matthew nearly missed the Cape Canaveral region with the brunt of the storm remaining off shore, but forecasts brought 100 mph+ winds into the Orlando area. Many of those winds never came, thanks to a jog in the storms path which kept the center off shore.
A month earlier, hurricane Hermine made landfall in the panhandle bringing major flooding to the big bend of Florida, especially in vulnerable Cedar Key.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, many residents credit hurricane Charley as to why they stock up early in the season, as to not have a repeat from 2004 when the tiny but powerful storm, abruptly turned into Port Charlotte, Florida with 140 mph winds into the Orlando area.
This coming weekend, hurricane supplies will be tax free, as Governor Rick Scott urges residents to prepare early in preparation for what storm forecasters are calling, an “above average” season with 11-17 storms and the potential for 5-9 hurricanes.
This doesn’t mean that these storms will all make landfall, but with a weaker El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, steering currents and warm ocean waters, we could see a more active season than in years past.
So get your kits, evacuation plans, and supplies ready, just in case we hear the key words, “hunker down.”
Source: Orlando Sentinel