Although Alachua County is not on the coast, we are still very much at risk from tropical storms and hurricanes. In fact during the last 30 years, inland flooding has been responsible for more than half the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 until November 30 each year.
It is important to note that Alachua County will never be placed under a Hurricane Watch or Warning. Hurricane Watches/Warnings are issued by the Nation Hurricane Center only for the coast. Instead, the National Weather Service will issue an Inland Hurricane Wind Watch or Warning (for winds greater than 73 mph) or an Inland Tropical Storm Wind Watch or Warning (for winds 40 to 73 mph).
Before Hurricane Season (June 1 - November 30):
- Determine in you live in a potential flood zone. Have flood insurance. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Put together an emergency kit with 72 hours of food, water and medicine.
- Obtain a NOAA weather radio.
- Create a family emergency plan that includes and evacuation plan in case you must leave.
- Find out if you home meets current building code requirements for high-winds, and take actions to secure it in the event of a storm. Protect windows by installing commercial shutters or preparing 5/8 inch plywood panels. Reinforce al garage doors so that they are able to withstand high winds.
- If you do not live in a mobile home or flood-prone area, designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as a 'safe room.'
- Assess your property to ensure that landscaping and trees do not become a wind hazard. Trim dead wood and weak/overhanging branches from all trees.
As the Storm Approaches:
- Be prepared to evacuate if asked to do so by county officials, especially residents in flood-prone areas or manufactured housing.
- Secure or bring inside all lawn furniture and other outside objects that could become a projectile in high winds.
- Board or shutter windows.
- Stay at home unless you are evacuating. Stay indoors in your 'safe room.' The safest place in your home are small, windowless rooms on the ground floor.
- Monitor the storm through local media and NOAA weather radio.
- Beware of tornadoes and flooding that can result from the hurricane.
- Be aware of the eye of the hurricane-a temporary reduction in wind does not mean the storm is over. Stay in a safe place and do not go outside unless absolutely necessary.