Please use this page for information on how to stay safe during a tropical storm or hurricane. Even though we are in the middle of the State, we can still be affected by a major storm. We will attempt to keep the most recent information posted here for you to use.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th. Mid-August to late October is the busiest time for storms. Thankfully, these storms can be tracked weeks before they affect our State so residents have plenty of time to prepare. But the exact path of a storm is hard to predict. Slight variations in a path may not make much of a change to what storm effects happen, but storms have been known to suddenly veer in another direction and instead of the storm passing you by it could be passing right over the Four Corners/Clermont area.
Hurricanes are rated by their strength. The stronger the category the more severe winds and rain, and hence, more damage caused by the storm.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] forecasts and tracks storms. Below is information from their web site on category wind speeds and the amount of damage each may cause:
- Tropical Depression: a defined system with winds under 39 MPH
- No damage expected
- Tropical Storm: 39-74 MPH winds
- Minimal damage from winds
- A name is given to the system at this point
- Category 1: 74-95 MPH winds
- Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
- Category 2: 96-110 MPH winds
- Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
- Category 3 [major]: 111-129 MPH winds
- Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
- Category 4 [major]: 130-156 MPH winds
- Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
- Category 5 [major]: 157+ MPH winds
- Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Being as far inland as we are, we don’t need to worry about storm surge (which is caused by high winds), but the winds themselves can still be damaging. Bring in lawn furniture, potted plants, and any other items that can be tossed around by the winds. Put them in your garage or inside your house. Trim your trees or hire a service to trim them to remove branches that may damage your home or vehicle if they break off in the wind. If the tree is unhealthy or dying you may want to have it removed so the storm doesn’t knock it over on your home. A proper trimming can also clear the treetops to allow winds to pass through more easily and not knock down limbs and branches.
Another facet of being so far inland: there is very little chance we would be evacuating the community but be aware that Highway 27 is a major evacuation route for Florida and can become packed with cars crawling north to escape a hurricane that is heading for the southern Florida area. Be prepared for this possibility and make sure you’ve stocked up on supplies so you don’t need to wade into the north-bound traffic.
A list of names is created each year and each storm is given a name from that list, in alphabetical order, when it reaches Tropical Storm status. If a storm becomes a major one and causes a massive amount of damage, it may have its name ‘retired’ and it will no longer go on future lists.
NOTE: a hurricane and a typhoon are the same type of weather event but the name ‘typhoon’ is used for storms in the Pacific and ‘hurricane’ is used for storms in the Atlantic.
Many States (including Florida) who are affected by hurricanes hold a tax-free shopping holiday where storm preparation/ride-out items have no taxes charged on them. These holidays usually run from one to 2 weeks and the items are set by the state government. Pay attention to local news or do an Internet search for the state’s tax-free holiday when the year’s hurricane season is approaching.
When a hurricane is forecast to hit our area the pools, playgrounds, and fields may be closed based on storm strength. The gates up front may be tied open and the security arms removed to prevent damage to them and vehicles entering and exiting. The HOA will reopen the amenities and turn the gates back on as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
Check out the NOAA FAQ page. There is a lot of additional information there to answer your questions.
The Florida Department of Health and the CDC has a page of information with links to articles for almost any situation to keep you and your family safe in an emergency.
Here is an Emergency [Hurricane] Preparedness packet put together by our HOA: WH Emergency Preparedness [PDF format]
Local ABC affiliate WFTV had a special on hurricanes in 2019 that newcomers to Florida will find useful:
Calm Before the Storm: A Channel 9 Special
Please check out the infographics below for more tips to prepare for a hurricane. Remember you can search online to find the answer to any questions you may have. Stay safe!