Tips for homeowners to prepare for hurricane season

“By being proactive ahead of a storm, homeowners can protect themselves and their property from flooding effects that are typically the biggest problem associated with hurricanes in Florida,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr.  Ann Shortelle. “The time to prepare is now, before the storm, and then to perform periodic maintenance to keep storm water flowing off your property and into a stormwater system or natural waterway.”

Hurricane season officially begins June 1. The district’s Web page ( includes links to flood statements and warnings, river stage and flooding data, and local government emergency contacts. Links to the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive map of current conditions in the state are also available via the website.

To prepare for hurricane season, which officially runs through Nov. 30, property owners can protect themselves and their property by:

·       Keeping debris out of storm drains and ditches;

·       Reporting clogged ditches and culverts to local governments;

·       Retrofitting buildings to make them watertight;

·       Cleaning out gutters and extending downspouts at least four feet from structures;

·       Determining who has responsibility for stormwater pond maintenance in their neighborhood — it may be the homeowner’s association;

·       Obtaining flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring an area east of the Bahamas (as of Wednesday) for possible tropical development as it travels northwestward toward the southeast coast. That’s our slight increase in moisture and rain risk I mentioned. While the impacts at this time look minimal to south Florida, it’s a gentle reminder that we are inching ever so much closer to the 2016 hurricane season. Are your preparations complete?? I hope so because it’s never to early to be ready in the case of tropical development. We’ve been ***LLLUUUUCCCCKKKYYY*** (aka: on a streak…fortuitous…blessed) to have escaped the impacts of a hurricane for over 10 tropical seasons now. If I were a betting gal, I’d probably edge on the side of caution and have all your hurricane preps in place in case our luck runs out. (I’m knocking on all the wood I can, but better safe than sorry). If this area does form into a tropical system in the coming days, it will be named “Bonnie”.

Be sure to follow our #HappeningWeather column, updated each #WeatherWednesday!