Hurricane Elsa Takes Aim at Florida. Are You Prepared?

Joe Duncan

Are we ready? Because Hurricane Season is already here...

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National Hurricane Center

We knew it was going to be an above-average Hurricane Season and it's already starting off with an eventful beginning. The season began on June 1st and meteorologists are already placing their bids on what kind of a season it will be.

Last year in 2020, the Hurricane Season in the Atlantic broke records, with 30 named storms. As most of you know by now, when a storm turns into a tropical cyclone, it's given a name (Irma, Maria, Charley, Ivan, etc.). On average, 14 storms per year are named by weather services, so the fact that we had a full 30 systems is massive.

The threat of dealing with thirty possible hurricanes means we could all be in for a very interesting year.

For this year, forecasters are anticipating another doozy. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting between 13 and 20 named storms. And of those storms, they presume between 6 and 10 of them could become full-fledged hurricanes, with between three and five of them becoming major hurricanes, defined by them as a storm that reaches over 111 mph winds.

And now, the storm season officially has its first hurricane that could potentially rip through Florida. Tropical Storm Elsa, formerly Hurricane Elsa, was barreling through the Caribbean right now, after leaving the Atlantic Ocean, as it inches closer towards Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. The trajectory set forth for the storm has it careening down a path to tag Florida from the Gulf Coast.

While the storm has weakend to a Tropical Storm (for now) after hitting Barbados, it's maximum wind speed is still 70 miles per hour, which is no joke, and it appears that it's on track to hit us head on. The entire state of Florida remains in the "cone of uncertainty" where we're not quite sure if it'll hit us or not. It appears as if the western tip of the Florida panhandle is safe and will not be hit by the storm.

We should be prepared in case Elsa hits us.

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Hurricane Elsa From SpaceNASA

If the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 (in the wake of the pandemic) and the great gas shortage of 2021 (in the wake of the pipeline hack) have taught me anything, it's that it's best to be prepared so you don't get caught with your pants down. You don't want to be taken by surprise, rushing to crowded stores with empty shelves to buy what you need after it's already sold out everywhere.

Take simple precautions. Perhaps buy an extra couple of cans of canned food per week, some candles, batteries, and other things you might need just in case a storm comes. It might pay huge proverbial dividends to get it out of the way early.

Ordering solar chargers could mean the difference between having a phone and not having a phone during a hurricane. It's wise to be ready ahead of time.

According to FEMA, here's what you should have on-hand in case a storm comes through:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible).
  • Extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items.
  • Multi-purpose tool, like a Swiss Army knife.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies).
  • Cell phone with chargers.
  • Family and emergency contact information.
  • Extra cash (ATMs might be inoperable).
  • Extra fuel for generator and car.

Personally, I prefer solar charges and they can be bought on Amazon for under $30. Also, if you can get a good solar charger, one that can power your phone, and your phone has great battery life, you can get updates from that instead of a hand-crank radio.

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Keeping Florida informed with the latest. Life isn’t a series of many moments, but one moment that is always changing. Catch me on: https://twitter.com/JoeMDuncan

Orlando, FL
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