Part of living in Florida is dealing with hurricanes. Hurricane season in the Atlantic region runs from June 1st through November 30th and while this season has brought a couple of tropical storms, there have been no major hurricanes that made landfall on our coast to date. While the past several years have been fairly mild in terms of major storms, long time Florida residents still remember the devastation caused by Category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992, as well as category 4 Hurricane Charley in 2004. Despite advances in radar technology and weather forecasting, the path of tropical storms and hurricanes can be unpredictable, and even areas further removed from the storm can end up with flooding and damages. At Hogan Frick Law, our experienced Florida attorneys care about the health and welfare of the residents in our community. During hurricane season, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the way the storms are categorized, and to know the procedures your family should follow in the event a storm hits.

Categories of Storms and Storm Advisory Levels

Tropical storm and hurricane forecasts originate out of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA also operates the National Weather Service, which uses wind speed and storm surge levels to categorize storms as they develop. With tropical storms consisting of wind speeds ranging from 55-73 miles per hour (mph) and higher than average surf, the categories for hurricanes are as follows:

  • Category 1 Hurricane: Winds 74-95 mph, storm surge of 4-5 feet
  • Category 2 Hurricane: Winds 96-110 mph, storm surge of 6-8 feet
  • Category 3 Hurricane: Winds 111-130 mph, storm surge of 9-12 feet
  • Category 4 Hurricane: Winds 131-155 mph, storm surge of 13-18 feet
  • Category 5 Hurricane: Winds over 155 mph, storm surge over 18 feet

In terms of warning the general public, the National Hurricane Center will issue either a watch or a warning. A tropical storm or hurricane watch indicates that condition are favorable for a storm to occur, and warns the public to be on guard. A tropical storm or hurricane warning is more urgent. It means a storm or hurricane is currently making landfall, or that landfall is imminent, and immediate action is required.

Safety Tips During a Tropical Storm or Hurricanes

The American Red Cross urges people to be prepared in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, and has developed a hurricane safety list, which includes the following tips to ensure you and your family stay safe:

  • Get a full tank of gas prior to the storm, as there may be shortages after;
  • Develop an evacuation plan with family members;
  • Have an adequate supply of cash on hand;
  • Have three days’ worth of food and water for each person;
  • Gather family and emergency contact information, and make sure everyone has ID;
  • Get prescriptions refilled prior to the storm; and
  • Secure any loose items outside your home, and use plywood or hurricane shutters on doors and windows.

In the event you are evacuated, leave early and make sure to avoid driving on flooded roads and bridges. Even shallow water can present grave dangers.

Contact Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys

By taking the appropriate precautions, you can help ensure your loved ones stay safe this hurricane season. In the event that either you or a family member is injured as the result of an accident or someone’s reckless and negligent conduct, contact our experienced Florida personal injury and accident attorneys. At Hogan Frick, our attorneys are here for our clients, providing the aggressive legal representation you need, while ensuring you get the compassionate service you deserve. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we are prepared to assist you today.