Florida’s rainy season begins in May and ushers in the hurricane season on June 1st. According to the Florida Climate Center, the northern part of the state experiences between nearly 50% up to 60% of its annual rainfall from May through August. If you live in central or southern Florida, the figure increases from 60% to 70%—that equates to a lot of rain! If you’ve lived here during those months you know that flooding is a frequent occurrence. We’ve put together a list of nine steps to follow to prepare for the onslaught.
Those Monsoon Months
The old saying “April showers bring May flowers” may not apply to us here in Florida because the plants could well be in danger of drowning if they’ve just sprouted in April. Intense thunderstorms are pretty frequent, however, even when it’s not storming outside, the rain can last for days without stopping. Couple that with the soaring summer temperatures and the humidity that oppressively settles over the state and you may wonder why so many tourists schedule their vacations during the heart of it all!
Evacuation plans in place
You can bet that whichever accommodations our visitors have chosen for their stay that there are evacuation plans in place. Furthermore, hosts won’t hesitate to get guests on the road to safety in ample time if necessary.
Do you have one? Having evacuation routes planned well in advance will get your family out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. In addition, take some time to create a list of emergency contacts that everyone in the family has access too. Don’t just have them on your phones… post them somewhere.
Sometimes in the event of an emergency, it’s difficult to think clearly. Having the list available can save you precious time.
Significant storm protection
Consider installing hurricane windows or shutters to increase your family’s protection during severe storms. If that’s on your list of things to do, the sooner you get the ball rolling the better. Contractors can get backlogged the closer we get to the start of the season.
Insuring your insured
Because flooding is such a problem in Florida, it’s a good idea to review your homeowner’s policy regarding wind and flood insurance coverage. If you don’t have a policy, you should probably purchase one.
Keeping your valuable items safe
Whether your valuables are important to you because of monetary or sentimental value, you’ll want to make sure they aren’t in danger of being ruined by floodwaters. Move them to an upper floor if possible. If that’s not an option, protect them as best you can or store them away from the home in a secure area.
Stock up on supplies
Make sure you have enough supplies on hand to provide for your family for at least three days. Purchase foods that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten without cooking them. It’s also important to have at least a gallon of water per person per day.
Other items to include in your provisions are:
- Weather radio
- Charged cell phone with an extra battery if possible
- Can opener
- Eating utensils
- First aid kit
- Consider any special needs items such as diapers and wipes
- Pet provisions
Customize your list to best fit your family’s needs. If you have children, you’ll want to include special toys and games to keep them occupied and reduce their stress. Moreover, having favorite comfort items available is a good idea too—both for the kids and adults!
Preparing for flood water inside
If your area is prone to flooding, you may want to consider elevating your furnace, water heater, and other major appliances that are on the first floor or down in the basement. Also, know where any gas valves are located should you need to shut it off in a hurry. If you live in a 2-story home, you might want to consider a dual electricity system. That way, you can keep the electricity flowing to the upper portion of your home rather than being kept in the dark if flooding occurs.
Of course, major flooding can wreak havoc with the entire electrical system in the area. It might be wise to have a generator on hand. If you think it’s a good idea, shop early! They tend to fly off the shelves if there’s a potential hurricane or particularly severe storm system in the forecast. Always place them outside and away from standing water and windows.
Installing a sump pump might be something to consider as well.
Taking precautions outside is also necessary to protect your home during the rainy season. There are several things to think about so we’ll bullet list them for you.
- Anchor down things like fuel tanks, small sheds, children’s gyms or large play toys—basically anything that is in danger of floating away. After the ground becomes really saturated, septic tanks might even be affected. Make sure they’re sealed completely. Also, don’t let the water out of your pool. The weight of the water should hold it in place!
- Check to see that your drainage grates are free of debris. Monitor them weekly throughout the rainy season.
- All dead branches in your trees need to come down. That provides less ammunition for the powerful storms that blow into the area. Pruning your trees allows the wind to pass through them freely. This can keep your trees upright after the ground becomes saturated and it takes less force to bring them down.
- Clean the debris from gutters, roofs, and the yard weekly throughout the rainy season to keep water flowing freely away from your home. It also further limits the damage caused by airborne debris.
- Store away or anchor down your patio furniture and lawn decor.
- Having your property graded if your yard retains standing water can help. It allows for drainage.
- Have sandbags at the ready in case you need them.
Always be prepared
We don’t know if we’ll be hit with hurricanes this season, but we do know it’s going to rain! Thinking ahead and preparing for the coming season now will afford you peace of mind later. Knowing that you’ve done all you can to keep your family as safe as possible no matter what the weather brings is a very good feeling indeed.