Hurricane Season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30, with the most active months here in Florida usually occurring in September and October.
Of all recorded weather disasters in U.S. history, hurricanes cause the most deaths and destruction. It’s important to know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and Hurricane Warning and what to do in each scenario.
Have your business continuity plan, communication plan, and evacuation plan ready, along with all staffing plans for running your business in the event of an outage or storm.
Hurricanes may cause severe storm surge, wind damage, and flooding. Even areas inland are affected by related storms and potential power outages.
A Hurricane WATCH is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area and means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. During a hurricane watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
- Action: Be sure your property is prepared, and review your plans. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
A Hurricane WARNING is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds to allow for important preparation and indicate that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. During a hurricane warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.
- Action: Complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.
An Extreme Wind WARNING is issued when areas will experience sustained surface winds of 115 mph or greater within one hour, due to a hurricane.
- Action: Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
Florida actually leads the nation with tornadoes with an average of 12.2 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles. The term “Tornado Alley” is misleading, as tornadoes are actually more prevalent in Florida and the South.
Spawned by violent thunderstorms, tornadoes often accompany hurricanes. Along with the devasting winds it brings, a tornado’s relatives often include lightning and hail.
It’s important to know the difference between a Tornado Watch and Tornado Warning, and what to do in each scenario.
You may not receive an official alert, so know the warning signs.
- The wind may die down and the air may become very still (much like being in the eye of a hurricane.)
- The sky may turn dark or have a greenish hue.
- You may see approaching clouds of debris.
- You might hear a loud roar similar to the sound of a freight train.
A TORNADO WATCH means BE PREPARED! This is issued when tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area.
- Action: Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching.
A TORNADO WARNING means TAKE ACTION! This is issued when a tornado has been witnessed or detected on weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property.
- Action: Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you’re outdoors, in a vehicle, or in a mobile home, find the nearest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.
A TORNADO EMERGENCY is issued when a large, destructive tornado is already on the ground and causing life-threatening conditions and approaching a populated area.
- Action: This is an additional call to action to seek shelter immediately.
It’s important to know the difference between a Flash Flood Emergency, Flash Flood Watch and Warning and what to do in each scenario.
The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwaters. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over a full-grown adult. Just 12 inches of moving floodwater can float a vehicle and carry it away. As little as 2 feet of rushing water can sweep away large vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks. Turn around, don’t drown!
And let’s not forget the wildlife that can be lurking in those waters!
A FLOOD WARNING and FLASH FLOOD WARNING mean TAKE ACTION! This is issued when a flood or flash flood is imminent or occurring. Take immediate action and move to higher ground. Do not drive through flooded roads.
A FLOOD WATCH and FLASH FLOOD WATCH means a flood is possible in the area. Listen to your local weather stations and officials for news.
A FLOOD ADVISORY means BE AWARE. This is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough for a warning. Exercise caution.
HAIL STORM PREPAREDNESS
According to the NOAA, it only takes a wind speed of as little as 58 mph or hail the size of a quarter to cause severe property damage.
Over 50% of hail claims were made over a year after the hail storm took place, because property owners did not get their property and roofs inspected.
Hail damage often goes undetected, especially in Florida where we least expect it. While you can’t stop a hailstorm, you can take some steps to mitigate some damage.
The best way to mitigate damage from hail is to have a routine property, roofing, and maintenance inspection done on your property each year (and after every storm) by a licensed, accredited general and roofing contractor. This will ensure that your exterior and roofing systems are fortified and ready to withstand the elements.
HAIL DAMAGE can occur from hail as small as a quarter.
- Pea = 1/4 inch diameter
- Mothball = 1/2 inch diameter
- Penny = 3/4 inch diameter
- Nickel = 7/8 inch
- Quarter = 1 inch — hail quarter size or larger is considered severe
- Ping-Pong Ball = 1 1/2 inch
- Golf Ball = 1 3/4 inches
- Tennis Ball = 2 1/2 inches
- Baseball = 2 3/4 inches
- Tea cup = 3 inches
- Softball = 4 inches
- Grapefruit = 4 1/2 inches
If a fire starts, you may have less than two minutes to get to safety.
Plan your escape routes, what you’ll bring, and your meeting spot.
Having a plan and conducting routine tests on your smoke alarms can save lives.
- Ensure you have the correct number of smoke alarms at your business and home and ensure they’re tested monthly.
- Plan with staff and family and ensure they know 2 ways to escape from every room of the building and where a meeting spot is in the event of a fire.
- Teach children what a smoke alarm sounds like, what to do and how to call 9-1-1.
- Know what and where your key essential items you can quickly bring in the case of evacuation. Essential items include important paperwork, identification, memorabilia, photos, etc. that are irreplaceable.
- Get out and stay out. Never go back inside for pets or belongings.
- Practice fire drills and run through your plan at least twice a year.
- Ensure that everyone knows STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothing catches on fire.
- Ensure that your communications plan is included in your Business Continuity Plan, and if at home, make sure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
PREPAREDNESS IS KEY
- Create Your Emergency Plans
- Have a Supply Kit Ready
- Get Routine Property, Building Envelope & Roofing Inspections
it’s crucial that your buildings and components are structurally sound to withstand heavy winds, rains, severe storms and the elements. It’s important to have an annual inspection performed as routine risk mitigation to help you avoid costly damage, expenses, aggravation, and devastating disasters in the future. Every business owner, building manager, operations and maintenance program should include an annual Roof & Exterior Building Envelope Inspection by a licensed, accredited contractor. Until a problem is detected, it can’t be fixed.
- Understand Your Insurance Policy, Coverage & Deductibles
It’s so important to take the time to review your insurance coverage. Contact your agent if you have questions. Know the risk of disasters in your area and what additional policies and/or supplemental coverage and policies you may need. This simple task can save you a lot of hassle and headache down the road.
5. Contact the Experts
Call Venture Construction Group of Florida for a Free Storm Damage Inspection. If it’s safe to do so in the meantime, take photos of damage, and do not throw anything away. You’ll need that later if you have an insurance claim. We provide 24/7 Emergency Services to mitigate further damage, along with estimates, scope of work, photos, video, and reporting with the most advanced construction technology on the market. You have a responsibility to perform emergency services to prevent further damages to the property if applicable.