Florida Hurricane Season 101: What To Know If You’re New To Southwest Florida
With the booming real estate market over the last year, we’ve welcomed many new homeowners to our Southwest Florida community! If you’re new to Florida, it’s important to be knowledgeable about a very real threat to our state: hurricanes. Hurricane season officially starts June 1st and lasts five months.
Here’s what you need to know about hurricanes, and how to be prepared.
What Is A Hurricane?
Southwest Florida is considered a tropical climate, and as such we experience a lot of severe weather events. As we get into the summer, don’t be surprised to see afternoon popup thunderstorms and torrential rain. This is normal and nothing to board up your house over!
True tropical weather events are forecasted several days out, or sometimes even a week or more. Here’s what to listen for in weather news:
Tropical Depression – Cyclones (circular rotating storm) with sustained winds of 38mph. Tropical depressions are not generally concerning unless they’re slow moving and dump a lot of rain, which increases the risk for flooding.
Tropical Storm – A stronger cyclone with varying sustained winds between 39-73mph.
Hurricanes – Hurricanes have sustained winds greater than 74mph. They are categorized by intensity on a scale of 1-5. The primary threats from hurricanes are wind damage, storm surge, and flooding.
Watches Vs. Warnings
If you lived in an area with tornadoes before moving to Florida, you’re likely familiar with the terms ‘watch’ and ‘warning.’
A watch is issued when conditions exist for a tropical storm or hurricane. A warning is issued when conditions are actually expected. A warning is a more serious weather alert.
Terms To Know
When hurricanes and tropical storms form over the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, meteorologists will use these terms to describe the storm:
Eye: The center of the storm, the eye is usually a clear, well-defined circle where calmer conditions exist over water or land.
Eye Wall: The eye wall surrounds the eye and contains the most severe weather of the storm with high winds and heavy precipitation.
Rain Bands: Rain bands surround the eye of a hurricane, creating the visual parts of the storm that can be seen from space. These bands are the cause of severe weather, heavy rain, wind, and sometimes tornadoes.
Storm Surge: Storm surge is when the Gulf water surges and swells as a hurricane makes landfall. Even minor storm surges can cause widespread coastal flooding and larger surges can cause inland flooding.
How To Prepare For A Hurricane
If you’re a new year-round resident, you need to be prepared to either hunker down or evacuate ahead of a hurricane.
If you’re a seasonal resident, you’ll want to close up your home for the summer and partner with a property management company or trustworthy neighbor to keep an eye on your home before and after a hurricane.
For more detailed information about preparing for a hurricane, check out this article to learn more about securing your home, what supplies to stock up on, the importance of reviewing your homeowners insurance information, and how to plan an evacuation strategy.
While we always hope for an uneventful hurricane season, it’s important to always be prepared! For even more information about hurricane preparedness, check out this guide from the State of Florida.
The Link Team Is Here For You
If you’re a new Southwest Florida resident and you need help preparing your home for hurricane season, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. With more than 20 years in the SWFL real estate market, we have a network of trusted contractors and suppliers for storm-hardening products for your home.