Hurricane Ida’s rampage through Louisiana and Mississippi, and its remnant’s flooding in much of the northeast, is a wake-up call for West Volusia residents.
After all, it’s still more than two-and-one-half months until the official end of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on Nov. 30. Forecasters say Sept. 10 is the peak of the season.
With activity still heating up in the Tropics and Atlantic Ocean, there is critically important information to know in case a storm threatens Central Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis last week proclaimed September as Florida Preparedness Month to focus on the importance of the state’s residents and visitors being aware of, and preparing for, natural and man-made hazards through November.
Florida Preparedness Month works in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Preparedness Month.
“We’ve anticipated an above-average hurricane season and I encourage residents and visitors to monitor weather alerts, keep a stocked disaster supply kit and develop a disaster preparedness plan,” DeSantis said in a news release.
“All Floridians should have a disaster plan in place and know if they live in an evacuation zone or low-lying, flood-prone area,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie in the same release.
If a storm does threaten this area, you might need to decide whether or not to evacuate. An interactive, searchable evacuation-zone map and other useful information can help make your family storm-ready. Visit www.volusia.org/knowyourzone to determine your zone, which is imperative since evacuation orders will reference zones.
Depending on the path and intensity of a tropical system, the impacts of high winds and the storm surge could be felt primarily in the coastal areas, particularly on the beachside barrier island and low-lying and flood-prone areas that could come under an evacuation order. Additionally, mobile homes, manufactured homes and recreational vehicles also would likely be impacted by such an order.
Despite being well inland, some West Volusia areas are still prone to potential flooding. The county website can pinpoint those areas.
Planning in advance — knowing whether you would leave and where you would go — is extremely important for residents, according to Volusia County Emergency Management Director Helene Wetherington.
“You don’t want to be making these critical decisions affecting the safety of you and your family when a storm is threatening our area,” said Wetherington in a release. “The time to start thinking about these things is now. Be prepared and have a plan.”
The Volusia County Emergency Management website has resources to help residents prepare for the storm season, including information on safeguarding homes and creating a family disaster plan and a checklist of items to include in a disaster supply kit. Go to www.volusia.org/ services/public-protection/emergency-management.
Much of the same information and more, is available by downloading the Volusia County Emergency Management phone app at volusia.org/emergency-app.
More information on Florida Preparedness Month, including the necessary steps residents can take to ensure disaster preparedness, can be found at www.ready.gov/september.