Colorado State University is predicting 17 named storms in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasons. That is 5 more than average based on 1981 thru 2010 data. In truth, it only takes one storm hitting the Greater Jacksonville area to make for a bad year.
While you and I can load up our vehicles, collect and family and pets, and head out of town, our property cannot do that.
The solution is to plan and prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. While the hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1st, if you are to be ready by then you need to get started now. While the peak of hurricane season is during September, June hurricanes have happened. So, here are some things you can consider now in preparation for the 2021 hurricane season.
You can purchase hurricane shutters or cut plywood to fit your windows, and both are difficult to do with a storm approaching. Plywood and other materials sell out as soon as the National Weather Service shows a cone that might include NE Florida. Similarly, the hurricane shutter company’s phones are ringing off the hook and they may, or may not, get to you. If they do, there are no deals with a storm approaching. If you need to protect your windows, now is the best time for action.
While having window protection is great, also consider who will install your window protection as the storm approaches? This may help you decide on whether to get permanent roll-up window protection or the removable type. While we appreciate all calls, Mr. Handyman Serving Greater Jacksonville knows from first-hand experience that we simply cannot help everyone that calls the day before a projected storm impact. Waiting until the last minute may mean your window protection does not get installed, as demand outstrips the supply of available installers.
Falling trees are a major source of damage during storms. Even if we only get tropical storm force winds and the hurricane stays offshore, falling trees take out power, crush cars and damage homes. Think back to Matthew and Irma; neither of which made landfall in NE Florida and both did significant damage. Now is the time to take down diseased and dying trees and thin the canopy (when needed) on other large trees to allow the wind to blow through them.
Given our flat topography, many neighborhoods have a network of man-made ditches or creeks to help funnel water away. Unfortunately, these become overgrown, become dumping grounds for debris and they may be partially or fully obstructed when a storm comes. If you know this to be the case on your area, contact the appropriate jurisdiction and request a cleanup. Or you can organize the neighbors and make this a community service project that will benefit everyone.
Finally, have a plan. Where will outdoor furniture and grills go? What will you take with you if you evacuate? Where will you go? Being prepared and having a plan makes it far simpler, safer, and less expensive than scrambling at the last minute.