If you’ve turned on the radio or watched television recently, you know it is hurricane season again. The latest Atlantic hurricane, Irene, just brushed by the Florida coast adding scattered rain bands and wind to The Villages’ already hot and muggy August. Meanwhile, folks further up the coast are bracing for the brunt of the storm.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30. The season kicked off this year with Hurricane Arlene forming at the end of June. Irene is the ninth named tropical storm this season. (When a tropical storm hits sustained winds of 39 mph, it’s given a name. It becomes an official hurricane when sustained winds reach 75 mph.)
Due to its inland location, The Villages doesn’t see a lot of direct hurricane action, but don’t be fooled. Be Prepared! Wind, rain and post-storm floods always remain issues for concern. Also, power service may occasionally be disrupted. Even now, SECO Energy, the major electric provider for The Villages, remains on alert.
“If we do see outages in our area the primary cause will likely be tree related,” said Barry Bowman, director of corporate communications for SECO Energy. “The loose sandy soil in our service territory has a great deal of moisture in it already from recent rains. That means our region's oak trees, with their very shallow root systems, have an even less stable foundation and could be uprooted in just a moderate wind from the storm's bands.”
Loss of power is inconvenient, but it’s also a hazard and it pays to be prepared. You should have a supply of non-perishable food, safe methods of lighting and cooking (avoid open flames and DO NOT EVER grill inside!).
Loss of power can also mean trouble for those with medical issues. If your medication (like insulin), requires refrigeration, make sure you know how to keep it cool. You can also check with your pharmacist on how long your type of medication can be safely stored at room-temperature. Also be prepared if you have electrically-operated medical equipment.
Hurricane and Disaster Preparedness Links
FloridaDisaster.org (by the Florida Division of Emergency Management)