How to Prepare for a Hurricane in Florida

By Adele Sharman

21 November 2022

Another hurricane called Nicole hit Florida last week. The heavy rain and strong winds here are nothing new to me because I’m completely used to them. I have watched videos and seen the news about hurricanes hitting other countries where it is not common. Experienced people are usually all set to face it. But, how do you know what to do if you have never encountered one?

Hurricane In Florida? Usual Thing!

The Floridians have this thing sorted out. People in Florida are well aware of the hurricane season and are prepared beforehand. They take it in their stride. Some leave the town and others wait out the storm at home. Thankfully, I wasn’t in town when Hurricane Ian hit. This disaster left the city and its residents devastated. Many people lost their homes, businesses, and loved ones. The cleanup is afoot and the beaches in my neighbourhood are still closed. The last time I was in Florida there was an announcement about Hurricane Elisa. I rushed to stores to stock up on some basics like water, tinned food, candles, matches, torch, and spare batteries. You never know when it hits, so all you can do is take in essentials and batten down the hatches. Fortunately, Elisa skipped us.

The Day Before The Hurricane

Last night, I had a hard time sleeping because my thoughts were whirling around the damage caused by Ian. That’s why I want to share with you some tips on what you should do the day before a hurricane hits. Your gas/electricity providers (FPL here) send you emails, showing the latest updates. Insurance companies give you information on how to contact them if you need to make a claim. Local stores hand out booklets on what goods to buy such as water, dry cereal, canned food, and fruit. I always have an emergency pack all ready to go. If you are a part of a gated community, they send you a reminder to remove furniture from your balcony and no one would be left stranded there. Mother Nature sometimes changes her mind and doesn’t cause as much destruction as predicted but it’s better to be prepared anyways.

Worse Than Everyone Expected

When hurricane Ian hit we received a message from our retailer asking us if we wanted our furniture taken away from the balcony. I was sure the hurricane won’t be that horrible, so rejected the offer at first. The retailer insisted on doing that, so we eventually went for it. We had friends in Bonita who I was messaging for updates. Neither did they think it was supposed to be bad. However, it turned out to be a lot worse than everyone expected. 109 people in 19 Florida counties were killed, making it one of the deadliest storms in recent history. It was rated category 4 when it made landfall in Fort Myers. Luckily, our properties remained unscathed and our gated community had some lampposts down, and some branches in the pool. They only were cut off power for a couple of hours. No one was hurt. This community is 12 miles inland, so we were very fortunate indeed which is not to say about our local infrastructure and beach bars. Many houses and business buildings were without power for days. There was no access to the internet either. Cars, yachts motor homes were scattered all along the roads. It is hard to comprehend the suffering some people have endured.

Not Only In Bonita

We flew to Orlando a week after hurricane Ian and spent a few days in St Augustine. The hurricane reached them as well, but they got off with some tree debris outside properties. On our drive back to Bonita Springs, though, we were passing by areas that had been hit quite badly. A lot of furniture and uprooted trees were lying along the roadside. Witnessing someone who has lost so much is not a pleasant experience. We didn’t happen to see the local beaches which I believe are still closed. When we headed to Naples to grab a bite, many businesses were still closed and only a few restaurants were open offering  50% off on food. It’s so sad to see these fancy homes fully destroyed, businesses shut down, and abandoned boats and cars.

Your Support Matters

A few days after arriving back in Bonita Springs I reached out to a local company in Marco Island Hemingway Water Shuttle. I had used it before to visit Keewaydin Island. They had reopened and were giving tours to the public. You can support these local businesses by booking trips, eating at local restaurants, and buying gift certificates, and T-shirts from Snook Inn or Docs Beach Club until they are rebuilt. I booked a tour of the island, and it was upsetting to see destroyed buildings on the route and lonely trees that lost their striking green colour. The water wasn’t a turquoise blue, but the colourful shells it had washed up were breathtaking.

Coming Back To Life

Life goes on here in Florida. There is a donation area in the community for those who have lost their homes and cars. Food, clothing toiletries, and money donations were distributed among the staff members. As people’s lives are finally getting back to normal, Hurricane Nicole decides to come in. This hurricane is only category 1 and it hasn’t caused too much damage to the area. I suppose when you live or move to Florida this is something you expect to happen, but Mother Nature is so unpredictable. I just say be prepared and plan ahead. I am from the UK and I’m big on watching thunder and lightning, but listening to the wind lashing at your windows and water coming through your door filling up your room is far from a pleasant experience. Cold rain alongside dark clouds and swirling winds contrasts the warm, bright sunshine the following day. Sending my hope and support to all the people who lost their loved ones, properties, or jobs due to the hurricane. 

2 Responses

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I had never encountered a Hurricane before so I wanted to share information that I had learnt and would hopefully help others.

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