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As hurricane season approaches, it is important to be prepared and informed. The NOAA is predicting above-average activity during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season with an expected 11-17 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes.

hurricane graphic

Photo credit: NOAA

Whether you are a St. Augustine local or are planning a visit, it is important to know information specific to our area for complete safety.

The officials of St. Johns County and the City of St. Augustine have precautions and plans in place for any and every kind of weather condition. Linda Stoughton, the director of St. Johns County Emergency Management, says that the county does everything possible to offer as much assistance to visitors as it does to residents during weather emergencies.

“We would start out with notifications and warnings making sure visitors staying on the beaches or in the city receive the same information as the citizens do,” Stoughton said.

When storms arise, visitors are encouraged to monitor TVs, radios, and websites for the timeliest information. “Most people travel with smartphones,” she said. “We have a twitter account and always put out press releases to all local media.”

Media outlets for hurricane coverage:

When is hurricane season?

The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, although it can begin earlier.

Hurricane categories

Category 1 is the smallest hurricane and Category 5 is the strongest.

  • Category 1 – 74-95 mph
  • Category 2 – 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 – 111-130 mph
  • Category 4 – 131-155 mph
  • Category 5 – 156+ mph

Safety tips

  1. Research ahead of time to see if you beach warning signare staying
    in an evacuation zone.
  2. Stay alert and have situational awareness
  3. Be prepared to leave if you’re told to by officials.
  4. Understand hazards come with extreme weather.
  5. Understand that different bodies of water have different hazards such as rip currents, extreme high tides, undertow, flooding, tornadoes, and high winds.
  6. Follow directions of local officials and try to move vehicles outside of flooded areas.
  7. Use caution to stay safe while camping or swimming at the beach.
  8. Campgrounds are evacuated when a tropical storm or hurricane watch warning are issued.
  9. If swimming in the ocean, pay attention to the beach warning flags, especially in the case of rip currents and undertows.
  10. If you are docked at a marina, find a place to safely secure the vessel and stay ashore until the storm is over. For a hurricane preparedness checklist for your boat, go to boatus.com.
  11. Keep all electronics charged. Portable chargers are a great item to have around.

Hurricane terms

(Source: National Weather Service)

Tropical Storm Watch

A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of 39 to 73 mph or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding, and/or river flooding.

The watch does not mean that tropical storm conditions will occur. It only means that these conditions are possible.

Tropical Storm Warning

A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding, and/or river flooding.

Hurricane Watch

A Hurricane Watch is issued when a tropical cyclone containing winds of 74 mph or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding, and/or river flooding.

The watch does not mean that hurricane conditions will occur. It only means that these conditions are possible.

Hurricane Warning

A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 mph or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge, coastal flooding, and/or river flooding. A hurricane warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

Resources

For pets: ASPCA article: “5 Pet Safety Tips for Storm Preparedness”

Hurricane Safety Tips by the Travel Channel

How To Travel Safely During Hurricane Season by Conde Nast Traveler

Frequently Asked Questions on Travel During Hurricane Season by VISITFlorida