Preparing for Hurricane Season in Palm Beach County
By: Robert S Weinroth
Life in South Florida is probably as close to ideal as you could ask. Just ask those people who have been arriving here, post pandemic, to enjoy our piece of paradise. If it weren’t for those pesky hurricanes, that stampede of new residents arriving here would probably increase two to three-fold.
The good news is hurricanes have, for the most part, been bypassing the southeast coast of Florida over the past few years (heading north to the Carolinas or west into the gulf). However, it would not be prudent to disregard the annual preparation for a potential storm over the next few months.
Here’s a refresher for veterans of past storms and a quick primer for those of you who only recently landed here in south Florida.
As the storms begin to roll off the coast of Africa, our resident meteorologists will begin to trace the potential paths of each storm using “spaghetti” models generated by multiple experts. Just to make it interesting, there are no less than a dozen models generated for each cyclone.
Once a tropical disturbance has officially become a tropical cyclone, different government agencies (e.g. the National Hurricane Center for the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic basins) release an official best guess path based on their analysis of the different model data and other factors.
As the storms begin to head our way you will likely hear there’s a Hurricane Watch or Warning. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of at least 74 mph) are possible in the area within 48 hours.
Hurricane warning means hurricane-force conditions (sustained winds of at least 74 mph) are expected in our area in 36 hours or less.
However, well before the season officially begins on June 1stthere are steps you and your family should take to be prepared.
If you have not done so yet, here are steps you probably should have already accomplished:
· Make a Family Disaster Plan and practice it with family members!
· Use the Evacuation Zone Look-Up Tool at www.ReadyPBC.com or view the Know Your Zone Map to see if you are in an evacuation area.
· Locate Evacuation Risk Shelters near your area.
· Pre-register for Special Needs and Pet-Friendly Shelters if applicable.
· Begin purchasing supplies for your Emergency Supply Kit (this can be done a little at a time).
· Inspect and perform maintenance on your window protection/shutters.
· Buy window protection (shutters) and roof turbine cap(s) before a storm is imminent.
· Inspect your walls, windows, doors, and roof for conditions that may allow wind damage.
· Check with your doctor/pharmacy to determine how best to assure your prescriptions will last through a storm.
· If you need to register for the Special Needs Shelter, contact the Special Needs Coordinator at 561.712.6400.
· Assess your landscaping to determine if trees need to be trimmed or lawn ornaments need to be removed.
· Establish a contact number with your employer if you may need to report to work immediately following a storm.
· Make arrangements in advance for your pets; either contact Animal Care and Control about pet sheltering, or ask your veterinarian.
There are 15 Hurricane Evacuation Risk Shelters for the general population in Palm Beach County. In addition, there are two Special Needs Shelters, and one Pet Friendly Shelter.
These shelters are a refuge of last resort; a place to go if you can’t stay at home or with a relative, friend, co-worker or nearby hotel.
While shelters are set up in schools, the timing of their opening and locations will be chosen based on the circumstances of the storm. Not all shelters are opened for every storm. Monitor local media for current shelter openings and locations.
Shelters provide simple meals and beverages;
if you have special dietary needs or want
snacks, you must bring your own. Shelters
provide basic first aid only; cots and medical care are not provided. Each person is given 20 square feet of room plus social distancing.
To learn more visit:
The bottom line is stay informed, have a plan and stay safe. Unlike tornados, cyclones offer an opportunity to react and take steps to protects life and property.
Let’s hope this hurricane season (which lasts through the end of November) is kind to our community!