Prediction Updates from CSU on the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season – Take Note, Florida!

Colorado State University, a top hurricane forecaster, has issued an updated 2020 hurricane forecast based on the latest data.

The new forecast now calls for more storms than the original forecast issued in April. Based on information gathered through June 2020 the new forecast suggests that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will have above average activity in comparison to the 1981-2010 seasons average.

This year’s forecast suggests there will be

  • Nine hurricanes (the average full season is 6.4).
  • 20 named storms – including five we’ve already seen (the average is 12.1).
  • Four major (Cat 3-4-5) hurricanes (the average is 2.7).

Factors that contributed to this forecast are detailed in this 10 Tampa Bay news report.  They include a tropical Atlantic that is warmer than normal, while the subtropical Atlantic is very warm. Most of the eastern Atlantic is also warmer than what is typical, and warm temps are generally associated with more active Atlantic hurricane seasons. While these forecasts do not predict where a hurricane is likely to strike, the report does state that:

The probability for landfall for any one location along the coast is very low and reflects the fact that, in any one season, most U.S. coastal areas will not feel the effects of a hurricane no matter how active the individual season is.

It is also noted, however, that we must remember that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to cause major destruction and loss of life, and as Floridians, we must assume that the risk is great and prepare the same every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted. Be prepared and stay safe, Florida!

 

Credit: 10 Weather / wtsp.com / 10TampaBay.com/tropics
Credit: 10 Weather / wtsp.com / 10TampaBay.com/tropics

 

 

 

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Want to Know the Current and Future Flood Risk of a Florida Property You’re Interested in Purchasing? There’s an App for That!

You’ve been on the hunt to purchase a home in Florida, maybe even in the Tampa Bay area. With inventory consistently low throughout the state for the last year and a half, it’s been a challenging search. However, you think you may have finally found “the one” – a home in which you can envision you and your family happily settling down. Before making the decision to buy, you want to conduct some due diligence and find out what type of flood risk this home carries. With climate change an ever growing threat – especially here in the Sunshine State, you want to know what type of future flood risk this home will face as well. Instead of depending on notoriously unreliable FEMA maps or paying for services that can only provide a portion of this information, there is finally an app for that – one which can provide data on combined flood risk from rain, storms, rivers, and rising seas, according to a Miami Herald’s published report that posted yesterday.  It’s called Flood Factor, and the site, created by First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research group that is focused on the relationship between property values and climate change, is just a few short weeks from launching. As a matter of fact, you can sign up to be notified when the site goes live here.

The Miami Herald published report is worth checking out as it provides an example of a Miami-Dade map produced by Flood Factor, which offers detailed information on current and future flood risk for the area on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 indicating severe risk. The severe to extreme risk rating is no surprise for Miami-Dade, an area that is a hot spot for hurricanes which have been growing increasingly more dangerous and destructive as a result of climate change. The area is already battling rising tides and studies have shown it to be one of the most vulnerable places on earth due to its low-lying geography.

The Miami Herald article is packed with valuable information for both buyers and sellers; here are some key highlights:

  • According to this new tool, 35% of Florida’s 8.9 million homes are at risk of at least minor flooding right now, and 10% of those (approximately 900,000 homes) are currently at risk for severe flooding.
  • Searching a property on this site will show the flood risk from 1 to 10 but it also shows the increasing likelihood of flooding over 30 years, the timeline for a typical mortgage. A range of tools provide details that show what future flooding may look like on a particular parcel of land and compares it to the surrounding neighborhood, city, county, and state.
  • Currently, Flood Factor and FEMA data show about 1 in 5 Florida homes are in a special flood hazard area that requires mandatory flood insurance. Flood Factor predictions show that this number could jump to 1 in 4 in the next 30 years.
  • Growing research suggests that climate change is already affecting real estate values, and it also shows that homes outside of flood zones are appreciating faster than homes located within flood zones.

This tool provides the type of  information that is exactly what home buyers need to make educated choices on home buying in Florida. Flood Factor assists homebuyers in making a decision that will help them avoid getting struck by a powerful hurricane or getting stuck with the economic hardship of escalating flood insurance and decreasing home values in the future.

For decades, Florida has been focusing its efforts on increasing development along the coasts. While property values are still rising as buyers still seek out waterfront property, growing evidence shows that climate change will eventually undermine these types of investments. Increasingly unaffordable rates for hurricane and flood insurance in addition to home buyers coming to terms with the actual risk of owning a seaside abode will inevitably change this trend.

Flood Factor isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as it also provides a list of solutions to keep homes and communities safe from flooding, with ideas that range from installing flood gates on homes to calling your local representative to advocate for climate action.

Bottom line: if you are in the market to purchase a home in Florida, the Flood Factor app is going to be an important tool to provide you with very valuable and reliable data. Sign up to to learn when the site goes live and refer to it during your home search!

 

 

NOAA Satellites Hurricane Frances PD

How to Prepare for the 2020 Hurricane Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As if hurricane season isn’t daunting enough for Floridians, this year’s season comes with an additional complication: COVID-19 still remains a persistent threat. A recent Tampa Bay Times report points out that preparing for a hurricane strike during a deadly pandemic will be challenging for both families and communities. COVID-19 will affect how residents will be able to evacuate and shelter as well as how the aftermath will be dealt with. We also cannot forget about the current economic crisis, which undoubtedly will impact both of these threats that we are trying to protect ourselves against.

In the month of May, more than two million unemployment claims were filed in Florida. How many families will be adequately prepared with resources or a place to shelter and recover if a major storm hits? While emergency officials will take extra precautions to protect hurricane shelters from the coronavirus, the main priority will be saving Floridians from the storm, as the immediate threats during a hurricane are flooding and possible drowning.

Image via Flickr by Jernej Furman
Image via Flickr by Jernej Furman

As the Atlantic storm season officially starts on Monday, the Tampa Bay Times shared seven things Floridians should be aware of this hurricane season:

  1. Have a plan. Then, have a reliable backup plan. Plan to hunker down, but also make a  plan to stay with friends or relatives if you realize that your plan to stay home is no longer feasible or safe when the time comes. Make another plan to stay in a motel room on safe ground, and know the locations of nearby shelters. Know ahead of time what all of your possible options will be because you never know which plan will become null and void due to a possible coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic may end up limiting space in shelters, motels, or even make staying at a friend’s or relative’s no longer a viable option.
  2. Plan to stay home as long as it remains a safe option. Those at greatest risk from water and wind are those that live in manufactured housing and in flood zones. If you happen to be on higher ground and your home is sturdy and expected to withstand one category above the strength of the storm that’s coming, strongly consider staying put and save the shelter space for those who will really be needing it. Going to a shelter will increase your family’s chances of being exposed to COVID-19. If you happen to be an asymptomatic carrier, you could be putting other evacuees at risk. If you live in a non-evacuation zone, your family will remain safest at home, sheltering in place.
  3. Invite family members or a group of friends to ride out the storm at your home if you have the extra room and live in a non-evacuation zone. Be sure to invite those who have been isolating and are in good health. Have a plan with friends or family members that live in other parts of the state and form an alliance with them – if the storm is expected to hit you, you can shelter with them. If it is expected to hit them, they can shelter with you at your home.
  4. Every hurricane kit should be stocked with pandemic necessities going forward. Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, two cloth masks per person. Keep trying to buy these items throughout the summer and fall, even though they have been hard to come by. If you have to evacuate, you will most likely be required to wear a mask at a shelter. For a list of supplies that should be kept on hand that are recommended by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, visit: ready.gov.
  5. If you must evacuate to a hurricane shelter, be aware that they will be especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. This virus can be spread through airborne droplets and remain viable on hard surfaces. Emergency officials recognize this and are coming up with strategies to prevent outbreaks. Those entering shelters will most likely be screened for the virus by having their temperature taken and they will be asked a series of questions. Those that are symptomatic may be relocated to another shelter or to a specific designated area within the shelter where they can isolate from other evacuees most effectively. Shelters will be cleaned and sterilized more frequently as a preventative method of keeping everyone safe. Each shelter will need to be supplied safety gear. However, the more time an evacuee has to spend in a shelter, the greater the health risk.
  6. Alternative shelters are on the horizon. Emergency officials are seeking new ways to house people that will provide more square footage for limited evacuation, such as hotel/motel rooms, vacant dorms, community colleges, ice rinks, and multi-purpose facilities. However, these options also require additional staff and resources to maintain them.
  7. Recovery will be more difficult. While a direct strike is devastating in any year, this year will hit those who are already unemployed even harder. Families that may already be down one income due to the pandemic may lose the other due to a hurricane. Municipalities that have lost sales tax revenue will also struggle. Everyone will be more reliant on the help from FEMA and other government aid.

NextHome SunRaye wishes our fellow Floridians continued good health during these uncertain times. We would like to remind everyone to get prepared and stay vigilant this hurricane season. We are in this together!

 

 

 

floridarealtors.org

Hurricane Preparation Tax Holiday Starts Friday!

As Floridians gear up for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1st through November 30th, they can take advantage of some state mandated savings on storm supplies. Beginning this Friday, May 29th, Florida shoppers can avoid paying sales taxes for one week when stocking up on hurricane preparation supplies. Hurricane related items are sales-tax free from May 29 through June 4, 2020. Included in the list of hurricane-related items that qualify include generators that cost up to $750. You can click HERE to see the complete list of qualifying items, which can also be found on Florida’s Department of Revenue website.

In addition to assisting Floridians with saving on everything from coolers to generators, retailers are also hoping this week of sales-tax free shopping will serve to boost sales as stay-at-home orders have been lifted throughout the state. Many retailers, such as Lowes, Home Depot, and Harbor Freight have chosen to sweeten the sales-tax free deal with additional incentives to encourage sales for disaster preparation. Some of these deals can already be found online at retailers’ websites.

For information and tips on what supplies are needed during hurricane season, what your preparation checklist should look like, and how to make an emergency plan, visit: ready.gov.

Shoppers can expect to see continued smart and safe shopping measures at retail establishments that include required social distancing as well as sanitizing. In addition, Floridians should be mindful of how COVID-19 can impact any disaster plan that may already be in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, and shelters. Now is the time to review and revise any emergency plan you’ve had in place.

Shop safely and get prepared, fellow Floridians!

2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is Fast Approaching. What is the Forecast?

Floridians recognize the month of June as not only the beginning of summer, but also as the start of hurricane season. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, predicts that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will be considered near normal. Here is what we can expect:

  • Between 9 and 15 named storms
  • Approximately 4 to 8 hurricanes
  • Between 2 and 4 will become major hurricanes

Hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th. A typical season will produce approximately 12 named storms, of which, six will become hurricanes. Out of those six, three will turn out to be major hurricanes. NOAA’s 2019 prediction falls in line with a typical hurricane season. What is the difference between an average hurricane and a major one? An average hurricane will have winds of 74 mph or higher. Major hurricanes have winds of 111 mph or higher.

In addition to stocking up on batteries, flashlights, and non perishables, it’s just as important for Floridians to be aware of their local resources. Visit the National Hurricane Center to learn how to protect your family this season with a basic disaster supplies kit and a family emergency plan. You will also find information about the American Red Cross and other emergency management agencies on this site.  Learn about flood maps and your property’s risk of flood on FEMA.gov. Lastly, the National Weather Service will keep you informed about your local weather, including any hurricane and tropical storm watches and advisories.

Wishing our fellow Floridians a wonderful summer and a safe and uneventful hurricane season!

 

Take Advantage of 2018 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday: June 1st – June 7th

Get prepared for hurricane season during this week’s tax Disaster Preparedness 2018 Sales Tax Holiday! Here are just a few of the items you can stock up on in order to be ready for the Sunshine State’s stormy season:

  • $10 or less: Reusable ice packs
  • $20 or less: Flashlights, lanterns, or candles
  • $25 or less: Any gas or diesel fuel
  • $30 or less: Batteries, coolers or non-electrical food storage containers.
  • $50 or less: Ground anchor systems, bungee cords, ratchet straps, tarps, or radios (two-way or weather band)
  • $750 or less: Portable generators

Items that are always exempt include bottled water (unflavored, not carbonated), canned foods, first aid kits, baby food and formulas, and prescription and nonprescription medications.

Now through June 7th, take advantage of the tax breaks and get ready for the storm season while saving a little money. Emergency Management officials recommend being prepared enough to be able survive a hurricane on your own for up to 3 days after a storm hits. Your disaster survival kit should contain food, water (at least 3 gallons per person), blankets, pillows, cash, cell phone chargers, clothing, first aid, flashlight and batteries, keys, mosquito spray, a battery operated NOAA weather radio, toiletries, tools, important documents, and pet care supplies. Stay safe Florida!

TIPS and Tax Free Week Hurricane Season