Don't wait to prepare for a hurricane

  • Published
  • By Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor, Miami-Dade County and José “Pepe” Díaz, Chairman, Miami-Dade County Commission

For the last few years, we’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided hurricane strikes, despite the record number of Atlantic storms over that time. Last year, we had a scare with Tropical Storm Fred and then another with Hurricane Elsa, but they were both near misses, and Miami-Dade County was spared.

Other parts of the country, as well as parts of the Caribbean and Central America, weren’t as lucky.

While the 2021 hurricane season was a relatively quiet one for us, we can’t let down our guard. The official start of hurricane season is June 1, but last year, hurricane season had its unofficial start when Tropical Storm Ana formed on May 22 – and that’s becoming increasingly common. Last year was the seventh consecutive year that a storm formed before the official start of hurricane season.

Last year was also the sixth consecutive year in which there was above-average storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, last year was the third-most active Atlantic hurricane season on record and the third time that the entire 21-name list of storm names designated by the National Hurricane Center was used up. These trends are likely to continue in 2022.

Extreme heat is also a growing concern as extreme temperature events become more frequent – resulting in more cases of heatstroke, cardiovascular disease, and other related conditions. Children, the elderly and adults who work primarily outdoors are especially vulnerable.

Prepare. The last few years have shown us that we should prepare earlier than usual. Sign up for emergency evacuation assistance, trim your trees, make a plan for your pets and get your emergency kit ready well before the start of hurricane season. Look for your Storm Surge Evacuation Planning Zone to anticipate possible evacuations, have the contact information of family, friends, and neighbors, and work colleagues handy.

Another important step we can all take to prepare is being vaccinated and boosted against COVID!

Being vaccinated is critical to protecting yourself and your loved ones during hurricane season and year-round, particularly in the event that you and your family need to access a shelter

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Preparation is key. We all hope for another quiet hurricane season, but we must prepare for the worst to ensure our community remains safe in the event a storm comes our way.