Florida has been hit by some of the strongest and biggest natural disasters known in the United States. To name a few, there was the Okeechobee Hurricane in 1928, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, and Hurricane Micheal in 2018. In more recent events, the state was affected by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 too.
With the hurricane and storm season for 2020 still not over, there are more natural disasters in Florida to expect, especially in August and September when storm activities are at their peak. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) even revised their 2020 hurricane season outlook and predicted 19 to 25 storms - which scientists say, 7 to 11 of those can become hurricanes.
Florida: One of the Most Disaster Prone States
While known as the Sunshine State, Florida isn't all heat and sun. It has one of the most unpredictable weather and is home to several natural disasters. Florida regularly gets hit by the following disasters:
Florida Natural Disasters List:
- Tropical storms
Tropical storms and depressions regularly hit Florida. In fact, it is the state with the highest rainfall in the United States.
The biggest reason why Florida is prone to tropical storms and other natural disasters is its geography. It is a peninsula that is between the Gulf of Mexico, the Strait of Florida, and the Atlantic Ocean. Usually, hurricanes originate in the Atlantic and naturally make their way up to the coast of the United States.
40% of all the hurricanes that will occur in the United States will hit Florida. That's how prone the state is for this particular disaster. But why?
The Sunshine State has the longest coastline among all the states in the continental U.S. and it is often in the path of severe storms. It is also surrounded by warm waters, which hurricanes form on. Hurricanes can bring storm surge flooding, heavy rainfall, and strong winds, which can lead to inland floods, rip currents, and tornadoes. It's one of the most dangerous and costly Florida disasters.
Usually, tornadoes are the strongest from February to May. However, like other natural disasters, it can occur at any time of the year. Tornadoes can come with tropical thunderstorms and hurricanes, or they can form on their own.
Wildfires are common in Florida as well. Every year, acres of wildland and houses are destroyed due to fire from debris burning and arson. Florida's frequent lightning storms - which earned it the title Lighting Capital of the United States- can also be a reason.
While fires can happen any time, the chances of it are higher under the intense heat of summer. When there's a drought, even the tiniest spark can quickly turn into a massive wildfire.
Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in Florida. This is because the state is surrounded by large bodies of water and so much of it is mostly sea level. On top of that, tropical storms, hurricanes, and storm surges bring in massive amounts of water, which then further puts the state at risk.
Flooding can cause millions of dollars worth in damages to homes and businesses in the state. For example, during Tropical Storm Debby, cities across West Central Florida were closed for a week and several communities in Pasco county reported "head deep" flooding. The incident was reported to have caused over $40 million of damages across Florida.
How to Prepare?
According to the Florida Department of Health, the best way to keep you and your family safe in case of natural disasters is to prepare. To do that, here are some of the following steps to take:
- Be informed with weather forecasts
- Build an emergency supply kit that's enough for 3 to 7 days. This includes water, food, clothing, toiletries, medicine, first aid kit, radio, disaster supply tools, important documents, and flashlights. You should pack care items for your pet as well.
- Know your designated evacuation zones
- Make a plan. Here's a guide to help you.
Disaster Relief Assistance in Florida
Experts have predicted that Florida will experience a 68% odds of hurricanes making landfall this year, which is significantly higher compared to past forecasts of 51%. This means that the state can be at greater risk of the effects and damages of a natural disaster this 2020. And since it can happen anytime, especially with September coming up, it is best to be prepared.
Each year, state agencies, local governments, and residents try to do their parts and prepare for all possible scenarios. At Island Restroom Suites, we try to do too. We try to be ready and provide help in any way we can. Our disaster relief and emergency assistance are available nationwide and can be deployed within hours from notice. With our portable restroom and shower trailers, volunteers and those affected by the disaster can be provided a clean, sanitary, and comfortable facility for their needs.