TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center designated an area of low pressure in the Caribbean as Invest 98L. Come 1 p.m., forecasters and state leaders had already begun signaling to Florida residents, those on the Atlantic coast especially, that hurricane-strength storm conditions could meet them within several days.
In a news release, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie urged Floridians to prepare for increased risks of flooding on the coast, heavy winds, rain, beach erosion and dangerous rip currents.
“As the Division continues to support communities in their recovery from Hurricane Ian, we are now closely monitoring 98L,” Guthrie said. “It is critical for Floridians to review their disaster preparedness plans and follow all directions from local officials in anticipation of potential impacts.”
According to the release, the division is now in constant contact with emergency management officials in all 67 Florida counties with regard to Invest 98L, only adding to the FDEM’s ongoing work in Ian recovery efforts after the Category 4 hurricane flooded scores of Floridian communities in September, be them coastal, inland or otherwise.
FDEM offered the following “no-cost and low-cost” preparedness actions Floridians could take:
- Make a Plan – Every household should have a disaster plan specific to the needs of their household, including consideration of children, pets and seniors. Every individual in the household should assist in developing the emergency plan and understand the plan. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/Family-Plan for more information.
- Know Your Zone, Know Your Home – It’s important for residents to know if they live in an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood-prone area, a mobile home or an unsafe structure during hurricane season. It is also very important for residents to know their home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. This information will help residents better understand orders from local officials during a storm. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/Know for more information.
- Have Multiple Ways to Receive Weather Alerts – Every household should have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and follow all directions from local officials. Residents are encouraged to have a battery-operated or hand-crank weather radio to ensure they can continue to receive alerts from the National Weather Service in the event of power outages or damaged cell towers.
- Keep Gas Tanks Half Full – Residents should keep their vehicle’s gas tanks at least half full during hurricane season to ensure they have enough fuel to evacuate as soon as possible without worrying about long lines at gas stations and to avoid gas shortages prior to a storm. For Floridians with electric vehicles, it’s recommended that the battery be maintained between 50% - 80% capacity at all times, depending on the type of vehicle and what the vehicle’s manual recommends. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/HalfwayFull for more information.
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