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'Luck should never be part of hurricane planning': Officials stress importance of preparing now

New residents to South Florida prepare for 1st hurricane season
Posted at 4:57 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 21:50:42-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the COVID pandemic seems to be declining, it's now time to start thinking about hurricane season.

The season started Tuesday and with the tax-free week on supplies in Florida continuing until June 6, it's important to start getting prepared.

MORE: Hurricane Guide | 2021 Hurricane Survival Guide

At George's Paint and Hardware on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, the hurricane supplies haven't exactly been flying off the shelves.

"We've been selling a little more flashlights, but no one has been panicking yet," said Kevin Cooney, a worker at the store.

Kevin Cooney, George's Paint and Hardware store
Kevin Cooney says his hardware store has not seen a large rush of people buying hurricane supplies thus far.

The large number of new residents coming into South Florida does present a challenge concerning hurricane education.

"They come in here, and they have absolutely no clue," Cooney said. "I think some of the people are very distracted with COVID and other issues, and they're not really paying attention to hurricane season until it pops up on their screen."

MORE: 5 things Florida newcomers should know about hurricane season

One thing that should be on everyone's screen is the price of lumber, especially sheets of plywood often used in hurricane preparations.

"How quickly the price has risen. Like in March, a half-inch sheet of plywood was $39.99. Today, it's $69.99. [I've] never seen anything like that before in my life," Cooney said.

Mary Blakeney, Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director
Mary Blakeney urges residents to start preparing for hurricane season now and not when a storm is forecast to hit the state.

That stands to put pressure on homeowners as they make their preparations.

"People have to be reminded the hurricane season is six months long," said Mary Blakeney with Palm Beach County's Emergency Management.

She cautions about residents letting their guard down because they may feel lucky this area has avoided hurricanes in recent years.

"If a new resident moved here, and they have a new home, they need to not only prepare personally for supplies but understand the home, as well as know if they're in an evacuation zone, know if they have shutters. Also, make sure they have proper insurance coverage," Blakeney said.

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Scripps National Desk
1:29 PM, Dec 17, 2018

2021 STORM NAMES

Ana

Bill

Claudette

Danny

Elsa

Fred

Grace

Henri

Ida

Julian

Kate

Larry

Mindy

Nicholas

Odette

Peter

Rose

Sam

Teresa

Victor

Wanda

TERMS TO KNOW

TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

TROPICAL STORM WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

HURRICANE WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.