Looking at how Hurricane Ian’s approach will affect us in Central Florida and resources to make the week a little less stressful.
By: Kit Mohr
Heck, it’s Tuesday.
It’s Florida, we’ve got a lot of sand, and in case you’ve had your head buried in it this past weekend and managed to avoid every news station and Publix water aisle: we’ve got a hurricane on the way.
Since we get a lot of those, too, let’s commiserate and pool our collective resources. Share your experience with any of the big H’s of the past or tell us your favorite tips to prepare for what is headed our way.
For the first order of business for this day, let’s check in on what we know, what to do, and what we do.👇
This isn’t our first walk in a rainy-park. If you feel like taking a stroll through Pulptown’s Hurricane Dorian past, check out The Dreaded H-Word. | Tag either #pulptown or @pulptown to be featured. (📸:@_orlandopup_)
What we know
📃 It’s official. Gaining strength yesterday morning, Hurricane Ian’s path is still on track towards Florida’s Gulf Coast, which includes a threat to our neck of the Central Florida woods. We are under a tropical storm watch, and hurricane watches were issued along the coast (more on those differences below). Gov. Ron DeSantis has already declared a state of emergency, activating 5,000 National Guardsmen from Florida along with 2,000 more from neighboring states. On Saturday, President Joe Biden announced an emergency for Florida, which allows FEMA to begin gearing up before the storm’s impact. (Orlando Sentinel)
🕶 Know when to watch, know when it’s a warning. Being under a watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible, and it’s an alert typically issued given 48 hours in advance. Being under a warning means those conditions are expected and, because preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph), the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to allow for preparation. (Ocean Service)
🍦 Are we talking spaghetti or ice cream cones? Based on the data compiled from the GEFS, from the United States, and the ECMWF or the “Euro” model, a ‘spaghetti model’ illustrates the different paths a storm may take based on variables such as the environment of the track it takes, water temperature, and wind shear, to name a few. As storms move closer, models begin to crystallize from the Madame Leota-like mystery, and we get a new chart called the cone of uncertainty. According to NOAA, the cone “represents the probable track of the center of a tropical cyclone and is formed by enclosing the area swept out by a set of circles … along the forecast track.” (WLRN)
📺 Let’s check in with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center acting director Jamie Rhome and FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell. As part of a special press conference yesterday, the two leaders had updates on the probable Florida impact going into this week. Rhome made sure to remind everyone that “if you are ordered to evacuate, you must comply with those instructions.” Expanding on this, Criswell encouraged everyone to know their own evacuation plans, as the whole state will feel the impact of the storm. (WESH)
What to do
✍️ Speaking of evacuation plans, it’s seriously time to have one. Florida Disaster ‘Know Your Zone’ tool is a great starting point, and here is a map of our Orange County evacuation routes. (Florida Disaster)
✅ Makin’ a list, checking it twice. Not looking for naughty or nice on this one; more like the American Red Cross How To Get Ready list, with emergency supply kit checklists highlighting “non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.” More resources to check out include shelter locations, radio info, and evacuation plans. (Red Cross)
🐕 Don’t forget Fido. Planning ahead means planning for your furry family members. Orange County Animal Services advises pet owners to make a “pet disaster kit” in a 1-gallon zipper storage bag to hold the following items:
- Sandwich-sized bags for pet treats and a small toy(s)
- Pet health records (each pet should display a current rabies tag at all times)
- Current picture of pet with name, address and phone numbers
- Collar and leash for dogs, and an adjustable collar for cats
- An extra identification tag
- Any special pet information
It should go without saying, but we are saying it LOUDLY anyways: Don’t leave your pets behind during a hurricane or any major disaster! (Fox 35)
What we do
⛈We track Jim Cantore. Famous for Internet memes and viral YouTube videos, the meteorologist has made a name for himself after covering numerous hurricanes, including Matthew and Irma, from our backyards. It looks like Cantore has landed in Clearwater Beach to keep us updated this week. (News Press)
🚨We track prices. Despite the looming weather, it looks like gas prices are still on the decline with the average consumer paying $3.38 per gallon across the state, four cents lower than last week. It’s not just gas prices holding steady this week; price gouging in a crisis is illegal. If you’re out grabbing gasoline, lumber, ice and other essentials ahead of Hurricane Ian and notice a dramatic spike, you can report price gouging to the state. (Orlando Sentinel)
✌️ A few more things…
Call us optimistic. Fingers crossed, prayers asked, good vibes lifted: This churning storm decides to party a little too hard in the Gulf and tires right on out to no more than a hurricane prep test for us all.
If we do get bypassed by big weather, this weekend holds some festive events, including the first annual Latinx Culture and Health Festival coming to downtown Orlando at Lake Eola this weekend.
While Hurricane Ian’s fickle cone of uncertainty may swing away from a direct trip to our neighborhood, that doesn’t mean we won’t still have some serious weather to contend with. Since it is always better to be prepared before storm bands start coming across your block of the Sunshine State, let us know how you like to be prep and feel free to share some of your craziest storm experiences!
Stay safe out there in hurricane prep madness, and we will check back tomorrow!
– ✌️ The Pulptown Team