The Villages Voice - May 2011

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Hurricanes and Hot Summer Days

by Staff

Hurricanes and Hot Summer Days

Summer is coming to The Villages – along with excessive heat and forecasts of above average storm season activity.  The heat index will be reaching 100 degrees on many days through the summer months.  Predictions for 2011 storms in the Atlantic include 15-17 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes (75 mph Category 1 and greater), and 4-6 major hurricanes (110 mph Category 3 and greater).  Hurricane season starts June 1st and runs through November 30th

Hurricane Preparation is Key

In 2009 and 2010 we were lucky.  NOAA predicted the most active hurricane season, last year since 2005, the year of Katrina!  The 2009 and 2010 seasons ended without a single Atlantic hurricane hitting the mainland of the United States.  We could get lucky again, but it’s more prudent to be ready.  The VHA and regional safety and emergency personnel have been working together to support you.

The VHA contributed $50,000 for an emergency warning transmitter in 2007 and worked with its partners in Sumter County to have the warning tower ready for the 2008 hurricane season.  The warning tower filled a transmission void area identified in the review of the devastating tornado that went through The Villages in February 2007.  The VHA teamed with the Public Safety Department to bring Weatherbug real-time weather reporting and sophisticated alerting system right into The Villages in support of The Villages PSD needs for emergency tracking and responding.  Residents are encouraged to sign up for additional early warnings with Sumter County Sheriff’s program CodeRED.  The Villages Walmart Supercenter is also a convenient Hurricane Readiness Center with all of the supplies that homeowners need for their Hurricane Kits and Checklists.  Additionally, Walmart has established strategic distribution centers for rapid resupply of emergency equipment and supplies as needed by their local Walmarts in the path of hurricanes.

We each need to do our own part to “safe up” now.  Most of the essential information is readily available online, and throughout The Villages in Walmart, grocery and hardware stores, and home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot, as well as, the Sheriff’s Department and Annex.  Key resources for getting prepared are a hurricane checklist, and preparing your “hurricane kit”.  Weather radios are available for about $30 and any fire station can help you program your radio for this region.

Heat Waves

Staying hydrated is essential to surviving the 100-plus heat index days of Florida.  The Villages Public Safety Department Fire Chief Mike Tucker says to drink lots of water and start well before the onset of heat exhaustion. Once you’re overheated, Chief Tucker says it’s already too late…you can’t catch up.  But you can stay hydrated by drinking more water during your summer activities, and again water is the very best.  Sports drinks and caffeinated beverages can even contribute to overheating problems and speed up your heart rate.  The Chief also recommends shortening your activity schedule or shifting your activity times to cooler periods of the day like earlier in the morning or later in the day when possible.  Finally, you know you body best and when you sense the onset of overheating, take corrective action immediately.  Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious business, call 911 when warranted.

There’s a possibility of five major Atlantic Ocean hurricanes this year